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In selecting subjects for this book, I have been led by 
two considerations, choosing first what has charmed my- 
self, and next what seems likely to amuse the reader. For 
in wandering unaccompanied through a new literature, the 
student is drawn by instinct to those epochs and those 
figures which are personally most attractive to him. He 
cannot assert that they have more general importance 
than others, but at least they have more individual im- 
portance to himself: he likes them better, they stimulate 
his imagination more than their compeers; and what has 
pleased him he is apt to conceive will please his friends. 
This is my excuse for the inequalities of my method, for 
the accidental character of the selection. 

A few studies of salient points, prominent peaks and 
chains upon the map of literature, are more likely to 
arrest attention than a general survey of the whole, 
which might be tedious. But if I am happy enough to 
have a reader who cares to follow the connecting links and 
to glance over the historical plan, I may be allowed to 
refer him to my sketch of the literature of Denmark in 

viii PBEFACE. 

the new edition of the ETicyclopoedia Britannica, and to 
forthcoming articles in the same work on the literatures 
of Norway and of Sweden, 

There would be little instruction to be found in the 
study of foreign poetry, if it did not throw side-lights 
upon our , own poetic history. It is singular that this 
aspect has been very generally disregarded by literary 
historians, and that in treating the nations of the North 
of Europe, it has been entirely disregarded. I have 
striven always to remember this, and to view these foreign 
poets by a European and not a local light. We see Arrebo 
imitating Du Bartas and Bosenhane paraphrasing Bonsard 
like veritable Elizabethans. We see Huyghens frankly 
borrowing from John Donne, and Milton, in return, deign- 
ing to become indebted to Vondel. We see Oehlenschlager 
and StelBFens, in 1 800, taking long walks, with Schelling 
in their pockets and the revival of Danish poetry in their 
minds, precisely as Coleridge and Wordsworth were doing 
at the very same time at Grrasmere. We gain by learning 
that the dew is not on the fleece for us alone, but that we 
form a part of a wide field of European culture over the 
whole expanse of which the rains descend in their season. 

On the question of the formation of the mind by classic 
study I strongly hold the faith of our fathers. There is no 
road, I am sure, to poetic excellence in taste except through 
Grrefek, and what nature does not give us it is vain to seek else- 
where than in antiquity. I am inclined, indeed, to claim for 
the authors of the ancient sagas something of the intensity 


and catholicity of the best Greek and Boman writers, and 
something, too, of their bracing efifect upon the mind. But 
in all the modern literatures with which I deal, no one can 
be more conscious than I am how rarely perfection is ap- 
proached, how cloudy and flickering is the light of imagi- 
nation, and how great a part afiectation and barbarism take 
even in the brightest periods of national vitality. In the 
sagas, however, there is none of this oscillation between ex- 
cellence and bathos. If I should retain both health and 
leisure, it is my hope to follow Sir George Dasent and the 
translators of the Orettisaaga in their admirable labours. 
To write a history of Icelandic literature is a thing un- 
attempted yet in any tongue. I do not know that I have 
the audacity to essay such a work, but I have the greatest 
incUnation to do so. 

For the sake of those who may care to compare my 
versions with the originals, I have printed in an appendix 
the text of all the poems and portions of poems translated 
in the body of the book. 

My very cordial thanks are due to all the friends in 

various countries who have so kindly volunteered to make 

these studies as free from errors of detail as possible. I 

cannot mention the names of all to whom I am indebted, 

but I must not fail to express special recognition of the 

kindness of the distinguished writer to whom this volume 

is inscribed, who has read through the proofs for me, and 

to thank Overlserer Lokke in Christiania, Professor C. E. 

Nyblom at Upsala, and Professor J. A. Alberdingk Thijm 

in Amsterdam for their very kind help. 




PREFACE •.....,,.... vii 



Henbik Ibsen 35 

The Lofodbn Islands 70 




The Danish National Theatbb 134 

FouB Danish Poets .157 


Waltheb von deb Vogblweide . . . . 197 


A Dutch Poetess op the Seventeenth Centuby . . 230 


The Oeba Linda Book 313 







It seems a pity that our knowledge of neighbouring 
countries should be limited so much to their merely topo- 
graphical features. We travel through them by at aP 
steamer, we talk a little broken English with postboys and 
boatmen, and we presume that we know sopiething of the 
nations. But in truth it is but the outermost shell that 
we can see ; of the thought and passion of the people — of 
their pursuits, and ambitions, and desires — we know no 
more £han the birds do when they fly over their land and 
rest on their migratory journeys. When a language is 
limited to a race inconsiderable in numbers, the isolation 
of its thought from foreigners is, of course, vastly increased. 
Here in England it is not worth while that many of us 
should learn such a language as the Dano-Norwegian, 
spoken by a population less than that of London. Life is 
too short for many such toilsome lessons, and hence we 
remain greatly in ignorance of what is being wrought in 
art and literature among such near neighbours as the 
Norsemen. Still, I say again, it is a pity, since doubtless 
in many comparatively small communities there is an 
intellectual activity, and a positive success in execution, 
which it would interest us to become acquainted with. I 


shall endeavour to show that such is the case among the 

It would be hard to point out any country in Europe 
whose condition at the present moment presents a more 
satisfactory aspect than Norway. It is not perhaps univer- 
sally known that its constitution is the only one that 
survives out of all those created or adapted to suit the 
theories of democracy that prevailed in the beginning of 
the century. Though accepting the King of Sweden as 
titular monarch, Norway really rules itself, sends to Christi- 
ania a parliament (the Storthing), elected from all classes 
of society, and has not scrupled, on occasion, to overrule the 
King's especial commands, even at the risk of civil war. 
There is no hereditary nobility in Norway; no political 
restriction on the press ; hardly any class distinction ; and 
yet, so conservative, so dignified, is the nation, that free- 
dom hardJy ever lapses into licence, and the excesses which 
larger republics permit themselves would be impossible 
here. It is necessary to preface my remarks on the poetry 
of Norway with this statement, because the poets there, 
where they have been poets worth considering, have been 
also politicians ; and I shall be obliged, on this account, to 
refer now and again to political developments, though I 
shall hope to make these references as short as possible. 
The political life of Norway would be in itself a fertile 
subject to dwell upon. 

It is no more than an arbitrary dictum that fixes the 
rise of Norwegian literature at the date of the Declaration 
of Independence of 1814. For two centuries past the 
country had been producing eminent writers, who had at- 
tained distinction both as poets and as men of science* 


The great naturalists of Norway require, and deserve, an 
abler pen than mine ; it is with the poets that I propose 
to deal. A few of these, such as Peder Dass and Dorthe 
Engelbrechtsdatter, had preserved in the old days their na- 
tional character, and sung to the Northmen only ; but for 
the most part the writers of Norway looked to Denmark 
for their audience, and are to this day enrolled among the 
Danish poets. Holberg, Wessel, Tullin, Frimann, and a 
•score of others, were as truly Norwegians as Welhaven and 
Ibsen are, but Copenhagen was the scene of their labours, 
^nd Danes were their admirers and patrons, and it is in 
Danish, not Norwegian, literature that they find their 
place. Hence it has been the habit of the Scandinavian 
critics to commence their histories of Norwegian bibKo- 
grhfhy with the demonstration at Eidsvold, when Norway 
asserted her independence, and finally separated from 

The Norske Selskab ('Norwegian Society '), that evil 
genius and y^t, in a measure, protector of the literature it 
presumed to govern, had now for more than forty years 
scattered thunderbolts from its rooms at Copenhagen, and 
ruled the world of letters with a rod of iron. But this 
singular association, that had nourished Wessel, snubbed 
Edvard Storm, and hunted Ewald to the death, no longer 
possessed its ancient force. The glory was departing, and 
when the rupture with Denmark came about, the Norske 
^Iskab began to feel that Copenhagen was no longer a fit 
field of action, and, gathering its robes about it, it fled 
■across the sea to Christiania, where it dwindled to a mere 
club, and may, for aught I know, still so exist, a shadow 
of its former self. But though the Selskab, once dreaded 

B 2 


as the French Academy was, no longer had fangs to poisoi> 
its opponents, its traditions of taste still ruled the public. 
Accordingly the aspect of affairs in the literary world of 
Christiania in the proud year of 1814 is at this distance 
of time neither inspiriting nor inviting. Newspapers 
hurriedly started and ignorantly edited, a theatre where- 
people went to see dull tragedies of Nordal Bran's, or^ 
worse stiU, translations of tawdry dramas of the Voltaire 
school, a chaos of foolish political pamphlets: these meet 
us on every hand, and every sort of writing seems to- 
abound, save that which is the result of fine criticism and 
good taste. The Selskab admitted but two kinds of 
poetry — the humorous and the elegiac. Everyone knows 
what elegies used to be, what a plague they had become, 
and how persistently ' elegant ' and ' ingenious ' writers- 
poured them forth. And, indeed, according to the journals 
of that time in Christiania, every verse-writer was inge- 
nious and every tale-writer elegant. There was a total want 
of discrimination ; every man wrote what was pleasing in 
his own eyes, and had it printed too j for the newspapers- 
were open to all comers, and no poems were too stupid to 
be admitted. The whole country went wild with the new- 
found liberty ; like an overdose of exhilarating tonic, free- 
dom threw Norway into a sort of delirium, and all was 
joyous, confused, and irrational. Out of all this arose a 
new class of poetry that ran side by side with the elegiac,. 
aCnd after a while overwhelmed it. This has been called 
* Syttendemai-Poesi,' or poesy of the 1 7th of May — ^the day 
on which Christian was proclaimed King of Norway, and 
the Storthing was finally instituted. This poesy, of course, 
was intensely patriotic, taking the form of odes to Eids— 


Told, hymns to Old Norway, and defiance to the world at 
large. It is tedious, and sometimes laughable if read 
now ; but then it had its significance, and was the inar- 
ticulate cry of a young, unsatisfied nation. 

Out of the froth and whirl of the ' Syttendemai-Poesi ' 
the works of three poets rise and take a definite shape. 
These claim particular notice, mainly because of their real 
worth, but they gained it at the time, perhaps, more by 
the extraordinary zeal with which they stood by and pufifed 
one another. They have been called the Trefoil, so im- 
possible is it to consider them separately; and in this 
triplicity of theirs they formed a considerable figure in 
their day. I speak of Schwach, Bjerregaard, and M. C* 
Hansen. The first-mentioned was the most admired then, 
and is the least regarded now. C. A. Schwach was bom 
in a village by the shores of Lake Miosen in 1793, and, 
after holding a high official position at Trondhjem for a 
great many years, died at Skien in I860. His poems, 
originally printed in stray newspapers, were collected in 
three great volumes. They are very dull, being for the 
most part occasional verses called forth by events which 
are now entirely forgotten. Schwach, once the idol of the 
clubs and the popular poet of the day, is now seldom read 
and never reprinted ; he exists mainly as the author of one 
or two popular songs that have not yet lost their charm. 
Bjerregaard was a man of far higher talent than Schwach ; 
there was more melody in his heart than on his tongue ; 
his lyrics have still some music about them, and some 
dewiness and sparkle. His countrymen usually class him 
as a poet below Hansen, and if we include^ as they do, 
novels and all sorts of sesthetic writing as part of a poet's 


vocation, they are doubtless right, for Hansen won great 
fame as a writer of romances ; but in poetry proper I 
must, for my own part, set Bjerregaard far higher than hi^ 
friends as a master of the art. He had greater reticence 
than they, and a brighter touch ; he even had some desire- 
for novelty in the matter of versification, and wrote in 
t&rza rima and other new metres. He produced a tragedy,, 
too, ^ Magnus Barfods Sonner'(* Magnus Barefoot's Sons'), 
which, I am bound to say, I have found wonderfully dreary. 
He was happiest in lyrical writing ; I may point in pass- 
ing to his pretty verses * Vinterscener ' (' Winter Scenes '), 
in the small collected edition of his works. He was bom 
in the same village as Schwach was, but a year earlier, 
and died in 1842. M. C. Hansen, a prolific writer of 
novels, pubUshed exceedingly little verse, of an artificial 
and afiected kind. Glancing down his pages, we notice 
such titles as 'The Pearl,' 'The Eainbow,' 'Nature in 
Ceylon,' and we easily gather the unreal and forced nature 
of the sentiment he deals in. His romances aye said to 
be of a far better character, and he led the van of those 
happy innovators who turned to the real life of their 
humbler countrymen for a subject for their art. For this 
discovery, the beauty that lies hidden in a peasant's life,, 
we must thank Hansen^ and forgive his poetical sins. He 
died a few days before his friend Bjerregaard, and Schwach 
collected his works in eight huge volumes. 

If there were nothing better in Norwegian poetry than 
the writings of these three friends, it ,would not be worth 
while to catalogue their tedious productions, and the 
reader might wisely turn away to more inspiriting themes. 
But it is not so ; this early period of Syttendemai-Poesi is 


but the ridge of light-blown sand over which the traveller 
has to toil from his boat till he reaches the- meadows and 
the heathery moorlands beyond. We come now to a poet 
whose genius^ slowly developing out of the chaotic ele- 
ments around it, took form, and colour, and majesty, till 
it lifted its possessor to a level with the noblest spirits of 
his time. 

Henrik Arnold Thaulov Wergeland was bom at 
Christianssand in 1808, and was the son of a political 
pamphleteer who attained some prominence in the ranks 
of the popular party. The father was one of the original 
members of the Storthing, and consequently the earliest 
years of the poet were spent at Eidsvold, in the very 
centre of all the turmoil of inexperienced statesmanship. 
Eidsvold was the vortex into which the bombast and false 
sentiment of the nation naturally descended, and it is 
impossible to doubt that the scenes of his boyhood dis- 
tinctly infused into Wergeland's nature that strong 
political bias that he never afterwards threw off. By-and- 
by the lad went up to the University of Christiania, and 
entered heart and soul into the caprices of student life ; 
his excesses, however, seem to have been those of eccen- 
tridty and mischievousness, for neither at this time nor 
ever after through his chequered life did he lose that 
blameless character, the sweetness of which won praise 
even from his enemies. It was about this time that he 
fell in love with a young lady, whom he had seen once 
only, and that in the street. He named her Stella, and, 
being imable to find her address, wrote daily a letter to 
her, tore it Up and threw it out of window. His landlady 
remarked that the apple-blossom was falling early that 


year. This ideal love for * Stella' woke the seeds of 
poetry in him $ he began to versify, and soon, forgetting 
Stella, worshipped a still less tangible but more important 
mistress, the Muse Thalia herself. 

The first work published by the afterwards eminent 
poet was ^ Ah I ' a farce. It is usual with his admirers to 
pass over this and his other boyish productions in silence, 
but it is undoubtedly a fact that after the appearance of 

* Ah ! ' in 1827, he wrote a great number of farces in quick 
succession. These farces were successful, too, and the boy 
dramatist began to be talked of and admired ; there were 
not wanting those even who called him ' The Holberg of 
Norway,' forgetting, it would seem, that Holberg himself, 
the inimitable, was a Norwegian. That Wergeland him- 
self did not prize these trifles very highly would seem 
from his publishing them under an Arabic pseudonym — 

* Sifiil Sifadda.' Those who have read them speak of them 
as not altogether devoid of fun, but founded principally 
on passing events, that have lost all interest now. But in 
1828 he wrote a tragedy — ^Sinclairs Dod' ('Sinclair's 
Death') — ^and in 1829 issued some lyrical poems that 
showed he had distinct and worthy aims in art. These 
poems had an immense success; they were brimful of 
tasteless affectations and outrages of rhythm as well as 
reason, but they were full, too, of Syttendemai enthu- 
siasm^ and they spread through the country like wild-fire* 
Wergeland became the poet of the people ; his songs were 
set to music and sung in the theatres ; they were re- 
printed in all the newspapers, and sold in halfpenny leaf- 
lets in the streets. Every 17th of May the people 
gathered to the poet's house, and shouted, ' Hurrah for 


Wergeland and Liberty I ' His mild face, beaming behind 
great spectacles^ his loose green hunting coat and shuffling 
gait, were hailed everywhere with applause. There are 
real and great merits about these early poems ; they show 
«ome true knowledge of nature, some lyrical loveliness ; 
but it was not for these, it was rather for the defiance of 
all laws of authorship, that the people of Christiania 
adored him. In 1 830 he published ' Skabelsen, Mennesket 
og Mesias' (^The Creation, Man and the Messiah'), a 
drama of elephantine proportions. This portentous poem 
•caused great diversion among the poet's enemies, and was 
the actual cause of an attack upon him, which ultimately 
<livided the nation into two camps, and revolutionised the. 
literature of Norway. 

In 1831 there appeared in one of the papers a short 
tuionymous poem, ' To H. Wergeland,' which was chiefly 
remarkable for the sharpness of its satire and the extreme 
polish of its style. It was not in the least degree bom- 
bastic or affected, and consequently was a novelty to 
Norwegian readers. It lashed the author of * Skabelsen ' 
with a pitiless calmness and seeming candour that were 
almost insufferable. 

,For years past a section of society had been developing 
itself in Christiania whose interests and aims lay in a very 
different channel from those of the great bulk of the 
populace. These persons, of conservative nature, saw with 
regret the folly of much of the noisy mock-patriotism 
current; they sighed for the old existence, when the 
xsliques of Copenhagen quietly settled all questions of 
taste, and if there was little fervour there was at least no 
bathos. The leading spirit of this movement, which may 


be called the Critical, was J. S. Welhaven, a young maik 
who, bom at Bergen in 1807, but early a student at the 
capital, had watched the career of Wergeland and had. 
conceived an intense disdain for his poetry and his £riends.. 
It was he who, at last, had let fly this lyric arrow in the^ 
dark, and who had raised such consternation among the 
outraged patriots. Wergeland replied by another poem^ 
and a controversy insensibly sprang up. In 1832^ 
Welhaven published a thin book — 'H. Wergeland's. 
Poetry ' — ^which at once raised a howl from all the popu- 
lar journalists, and marks an era in literature. It consists- 
of a calm and exasperating anatomy of the poet's then 
published writings, as withering and quite as amusing a& 
Lord Macaulay's Essay on Bobert Montgomery. It is 
even more bitter than this, and far more imjust, since the 
subject of it was a real poet and not a mere charlatan in 
verse. Still, with all his absurdities extracted and put 
side by side, Wergeland does cut a pitiable figure indeed,, 
and one is tempted to forgive the critic when, throwing all 
mercy to the winds, he pours forth a torrent of eloqu^it 
invective, beginning with the words, * Stained with all the 
deadly sins of poesy,' and ending with a consignment of 
the author to the ' mad-house of Parnassus.' Among the 
numerous replies called forth by this attack, the most 
notable was one by the poet's &ther, N. Wergeland, but 
his pamphlet, though doubtless able in its way, has no- 
thing of the brilliant wit of Welhaven's little brochure. 
Meanwhile the outraged poet himself, who throughout the 
controversy seems to have behaved with great discretion^ 
continued to attend to his own affairs. In 1831 he 
published ' Opium,' a drama, and in 1833 ' Spaniolen, a 


charming Kttle poem, which shows a great improvement 
in style, and proves the beneficial eflfect of the criticism 
brought to bear on him. Still the mild-eyed man 
samitered dreamily about in his loose green coat, but now 
he was less often seen in thje streets, for, having bought a 
small estate just out of Christiania, he gave himself up to 
a passion for flowers, and to a grotto of great size and 
ingenuity* Poetry was the business of his life, and his 
spare hours were given to his grotto and his flowers. The 
great controversy began to take a national character, and 
when, in 1834, Welhaven published his polemical poem of 
^Norges Daemring' (* Norway's Twilight') there was no 
longer any personal character in his attacks. In that 
exquisite cycle of sonnets he laid bare all the roots of evil 
and folly that were deadening the heart of the nation, 
and with a pitiless censure struck at the darling institu- 
tions of the national party. He called for a wider patriot- 
ism and a healthier enthusiasm than the frothy zeal of 
the Syttendemai demonstrations could show, and in verse 
that was as sublime as it was in the truest sense patriotic,, 
be prophesied a glorious future for the nation, when it 
should be led by calmer statesmen, and no longer beaten 
about like an unsteady ship by every wind of faction.. 
Then Norwegians would estimate their own dignity justly ; 
then poetry and painting, journalism and statesmanship^ 
all the arts and sciences, would join to form one hannoni- 
ous whole, and the young nation grow up into a perfect 
man. Then, winding up his argument, he cries— 

Thy dwellings peasant, is on holy ground ; 
What Norway was, that she agam may be, 
By land, by sea, and in the world of men ! 


The publication of *Norges Dsemring' naturally 
enough called forth a still louder protestation from the 
popular leaders, and the battle raged more fiercely than ever. 
No longer was it the principal champions who led the 
fight ; these retired for a while, and their friends took up 
the cause* Sylvester Sivertson, a poor imitator of 
Wergeland, frantically attacked 'Norges Dsemring/ and 
Hermann Foss, a new convert to the critical party, as 
stoutly defended it ; and so matters went on till about 

From this time misfortunes fell upon Wergeland in 
ever increasing severity. One by one the lights all faded 
out of his life, and left it wan and bare* First of all he 
lost an official position which brought him in a consider- 
able income. The King, the unpopular John, in a moment 
of whim, deprived him of this office. Still the profits 
of his poems and the sums brought in by his theatrical 
writings were enough to keep him in comfort. The loose 
green coat was seen wandering about his garden more 
than ever ; but in an imlucky moment King John re- 
pented of his haste, and ordered the poet a certain pen- 
sion from the State. Wergeland consented to take the 
money only on the express condition that he was to be 
allowed to spend it all in the formation of a library for 
the poor ; but, alas ! only half of this transaction was 
known to the public, and in the newspapers of the next 
week Wergeland found himself stigmatised by his own 
Mends as ' the betrayer of the Fatherland.' So intensely 
impopular was ICing John, that to receive money £rom him, 
was to receive money, it was considered, from an enemy of 
the nation, and by a sharp revolution of Fortune's wheel 


the popular poet became the object of general distrust 
and disgrace. It is vain to argue against a sudden fancy of 
this kind ; the remonstrances of Wergeland were drowned 
in journalistic invective ; and the grief and humiliation 
acted so injuriously on the poet's irritable nerves, that he 
fell into confirmed ill-health, and from this time rapidly 
sank towards death. Other sorrows followed that made 
these inner troubles still less bearable. The poet be- 
came involved in a tedious law-suit, which drained his 
finances so completely that the pretty country house, the 
grotto, and the beloved flower-beds had to be relinquished^ 
and lodgings in town received the already invalided 
Wergeland. Shattered in body and estate, forsaken and 
misjudged by his countrymen, it might have been ex- 
pected that the mind of the man would have been 
depressed and weakened, but it was not so. In a poem of 
this very time, he says: — 

My house and ground^ 
My horse and hound, 
Have passed away and are not found ! ^ 
But something yet within me lies 
That law and lawyer's touch defies. 

And it was just at this very time, vihen h6 was bowed- 
down with adversity, that the singing faculty in him 
burst forth with unprecedented vigour, and found a purer 
and juster expression than ever before. The last five years 
of his life saw his genius scatter all the clouds and vapours 
that enwrapped it. 

The first of these swan-songs was * Jan van Huysum? 
Blomsterstykke ' (*J. van Huysum's Flower-piece'), a 
series of lyrics with prose interjaculations. This is by far 


ihe most beautiful of his political poems — for such it must 
be called, being thoroughly interpenetrated by his fiery re- 
publicanism. No poet save Shelley has decked the bare shell 
^f politics with brighter wreaths than Wergeland ; and it 
must be remembered that while in the mouth of an English 
poet these principles are dreamy and Utopian, to a Nor- 
wegian of that time they were matter of practical hope ; and 
though Wergeland did not live to see it, there soon came 
a time when. King John having passed away, the high- 
minded Oscar permitted those very alterations in the 
Constitution which the popular party were sighing for. 
In ' Jan van Huysmns Blomsterstykke ' the poet takes a 
flower-piece of that painter's cunning workmanship, and 
,gazes at it till it seems to start into life, and the- whole 
mass — ^flowers, insects, and the porcelain jar itself — 
becomes a symbol of passionate humanity to him. The 
i)lossoms are souls longing for a happier world ; here the 
poppies cry for vengeance like bubbles of blood from the 
torn throat of some martyr for liberty ; here the tulips 
flame out of their pale-green sheaths like men who burst 
their bonds and would be free ; roses, columbines, narcissi, 
each suggest some brilliant human parallel to the poet, 
and all is moulded into verse that is melody itself. We 
rise from reading the poem as from studying some 
exquisite piece of majolica, or a page of elaborate 
arabesques ; we feel it never can be as true to our own 
faith as it was to the writer's, but we regard it as a 
lovely piece of art, shapely and well-proportioned. It was 
presented as a bouquet to Fredrika Bremer. 

The next year saw the publication of ' Svalen ' ( ' The 
»Swallow '), a poem suggested by the bereavement of the 

<svalen; ^ 15 

poet's excellent sister Augusta. It was 'a midsummer 
morning story for mothers who have lost their children/ 
and was sent to cheer the downcast heart of his sister. It 
is one of the most ethereal poems ever written ; a lyrical 
rhapsody of fstith in Crod and triumph over death. A 
short extract will indicate the profuse and ebullient 
ODianner of its composition : — 

Then I lifted 

Up my Bovl, and saw the swallow 
Sinking, floating, softly fly 
Through the milk-white clouds on high, 
And my heart rejoiced anew ; 
How she drifted t 

Through the blue I scarce could follow 
Her sun-gilded hody, though 
Sol lay in a dark cloud-hollow: 
How she sprang ; and turned, in flashing, ^ 

' As if weaving in mid-air 

With her wing-points through and through 

Some strange web of gold and blue. 

With my thoughts I followed, dashing 

Through the light with little care, 

While the balsam-drops afar 

On her beak 

Glittered like a double star.^ 

By this time the author was himself upon his death-bed, 
l)ut he Ungered a few years yet, long enough to see his 
popularity slowly return, and to hear again the vivats of 
the people on the 17th of May. It was not his own 
troubles, but the grievances of a down-trodden people, that 
filled his last thoughts. By the laws of Norway no Jews 
whatever, under heavy penalties, might settle in the realm, 
■and the hearts of high-minded men were exercised to put 

1 Appendix A. 


an end to this injustice. In 1842 Weigeland pubUshed 
* Joden' (' The Jew'), an idyllic poem *in nine sprays of 
blossoming thorn/ or cantos, in which the cause of the 
Hebrew outcasts was eloquently pleaded. The work 
created a great deal of excitement, and, to ciincli the naU 
he had struck in, the poet produced in 1844 ^ Jodinden 
('The Jewess'), in * eleven sprays of blossoming thorn. 
These powerful poems, accompanied by prose writings 
of a similar tendency, produced the desired effect^ 
and the restriction was, in the course of a few years, re- 

But it was not for Wergeland to watch this consum- 
mation. Already the darkness of death was gathering' 
round his bed, though the strong brain lost none of its 
power and the swift hand increased in cunning. A few 
months before the end his last and greatest poem appeared 
— « Den engelske Lods ' (' The English Pilot ')— in which 
all his early life of travel and excitement seems to have 
passed before his eyes and to have been photographed in 
verse. There is no trace of depression or weakness ; it i» 
not the sort of book a man writes upon his death-bed ; it 
is lively and full of incident, humorous and yet pathetic. 
The groundwork of the piece is a reminiscence of the 
poet's own visit to England many years before. Kent, 
Brighton, the Isle of Wight, and the ' Hampshire Fjord * 
are drawn in rose-colour by an only too enthusiastic pen, 
and the idyllic story that gives title to the whole — ^namely 
the loves of Johnny Johnson and Mary Ann — is inter- 
woven skilfully enough. The final episode, the return to 
the Norwegian province of Hardanger, is particularly vivid, 
and the descriptions of landscape singularly true and 


•channing. Here is a fragment from the close of the 
poem, describing the native scenes : — 

Where hi pale blue ranks arise 

Alps that rim the mountam yalley ; 
Where above the crystal spring 

Blooms the snow-white apple-tree. 

And in tracks of snow you see 
Wild white roses blossoming ; 
Where a stream begins its song 

like a wind-harp low and muffled. 
Murmuring though the moss and stones ; 
Then among the alders moans, 

Hushes out, involyed and muffled. 
By a youthful impulse driyen, 

Foaming, till it reach the yale^ 
And, like David with his harp, 

From a shepherd made a king? 

By the songs that it can sing. 
Triumphs through the listening dale.^ 

The only mistake is that the poet, whose English was 
<lefective, most needs preserve the local colouring by haul- 
ing bits of our language, or what he supposed it to be, 
bodily into his verse. Such a passage as this, coming in 
the middle of an excited address to Liberty in England, 
breaks down one's gravity altogether : 

Ho I Johnny, ho ! how do you do P 

Sing, Sailor, oh I 
Well ! toddy is the sorrows' foe ! 

Sing, Sailor, oh ! 

It should be a solenm warning to those who travel and 
then write a book, not to quote in the language of the 


He sank slowly but steadily. His death was in some 

> Appendix B. 


respects very singular. \11 through life he had enjoyed 
the presence and touch of flowers in a more intimate way 
than even most lovers of such sweet things can understand ; 
and as he became unconscious of the attentions of his 
friends, and inattentive even to his wife's voice, it was 
observed that he watched a wall-flower, blossoming in the 
window, with extraordinary intensity. The last verses 
which he composed, or at least dictated, were addressed to 
this plant, and form as remarkable a parting word of 
genius as any that has been recorded. These beautiful 
stanzas I have attempted to render as follows : — 

Wall-floweT; or ever thy bright leaves fetde^ 
My ^imbs will be that of which all are made ; 
Before ever thou losest thy crown of gold 

My flesh will be mould, 

And yet open the casement ; till I am dead, 
Let my laat look rest on thy golden head ! 
My soul would kiss thee before it flies 
To the open skies. 

Twice I am kissing thy fragrant mouth, 
And the first kiss wholly is thine, in truth ; 
But the second remember, dear love, to dose 
On my &ir white rose. 

1 shall not be living its spring to see. 

But bring it my greeting when, that shall be, • 

And say that I wished that upon my grave 
It should bloom and wave. 

Yes, say that I wished that against my breast 
The rose should He that thy lips caressed. 
And, Wall-flower, do thou into Death's dark porch 
Be its bridal torch.^ 

At last, on July 12, 1845, as his wife stood watching^ 

> Appendix C. 


him, his eyes opened, and he said to her, ^ I was dreaming 
'so sweetly ; I dreamed I was lying in my mother's arms ; ' 
and so he sighed away his breath. His funeral was like 
that of a prince or a great general ; all shops were shut, 
the streets were draped with black flags, and a great mul- 
titude followed the bier to the grave. When the coffin 
was lowered a shower of laurel crowns was thrown in from 
all sides. So passed away the most popular of northern 
poets in the thirty-eighth year of his life. 

Welhaven's poetical activity reached its climax during 


the ten years that followed the death of Wergeland. His 
poems were exclusively lyrical pieces of no great length ; 
* Norges Dsemring ' being the only long poem he attempted. 
He is singular, too, among Norwegian writers for having 
never at any part of his life written for the stage. His 
prose is as carefully elaborated as his verse, and is pro 
bably the most brilliant and finished in the language, or 
at least in Norwegian literature. His great mission seems 
to have been, like that of Lessing in Grermany and Heiberg 
in Denmark, to revolutionise the world of taste, and to 
institute a great new school of letters, less by the produc- 
tion of fine works of art from himself than by 'the intro- 
duction of sound canons of criticism for the use of others. 
In 1840 Welhaven became professor of philosophy at the 
University, and between 1839 and 1859 published a series 
of volumes of poetry, chiefly romances and those small 
versified stories that are called * epical ' poems in Scandi- 
navia. These verses are very polished and correct in form, 
and they move with dignity and a certain virile power 
characteristic of their author, but they are lacking in 
the highest forms of imaginative originality. His prose 

* c 2 


writings were of a more positive excellence ; they have not 
been approached by any of his countrymen, and one of 
them, a stady of the Dano-Norwegian poetry of the last 
century, ranks high in the critical literature of all Scan- 

, Welhaven had the personal attractiveness that marks 
most great movers of men ; his grave and handsome figure, 
not unallied with a certain arrogance, usually retained 
a dignified reserve which melted into a geniality aU the 
more charming by contrast, when he found himself in the 
circle of his intimate friends. He died October 21, 1873, 
after a long period of shattered health. In him the critical 
spirit comes to perfection, as in Wergeland the spontaneous ; 
the latter had much of the flabby mental texture of 
Coleridge — ^a soft woollen fabric shot through with gold 
threads — the former is all cloth of silver. Of the volu- 
minous writings of Wergeland, only his death-bed poems 
(forming the latter half of the third volume of his collected 
works) may be read in future times ; the sparse words of 
Welhaven will all be prized and enjoyed. The former will 
inspire the greatest enthusiasm and the latter the deepest 

An individual who deserves a few moments' attention 
before we pass on is M. B. Landstad, who was bom as long 
ago as 1802, in a remote cluster of houses just under the 
North Cape. We regard the little town of Hammerfest as 
the most hyperborean place in the world, but to young 
Landstad in his arctic home Hammerfest must have 
seemed a centre of southern luxury. One needs to have 
glided all day, as I have done, among the barren creeks 
and desolate i^ords of Finmark, to appreciate the vast ex- 

LAl!a)STAD, 21 

pause of loneliness — ^a very Deadman's Land — that lay 
between the lad and civilisation. I wish his poems were 
better, for the sake of the romance ; but in fact he is a 
rather tame religious poet, and would in himself claim no 
notice at all, were it not that he has undertaken two great 
labours which have had a bearing on the poetical life of 
the country. From 1834 to 1848 Landstad was pastor of 
a parish in the heart of Thelemarken, the wildest of all 
the provinces of Norway, and he occupied his spare time 
in collecting as many as he could of the national songs 
{FoUceviser) which still float in the memories of the 
peasantry. He[publi8hed a very lai^e collection, in rather 
a tasteless form, in 1853 ; but though the work is too 
clumsy for common use, it has proved of the greatest 
service as a storehouse for more critical students of the old 
Norse language. Too much praise, however, must not be 
accorded to him even on this score, for Asbjomsen and 
Moe were in the field ten years earlier, as we shall see 
farther on in our history. Another great labour of Land- 
stad's was the compilation of a psalm-book for general use 
in churches, to supersede the various old collections. Our 
arctic poet, whose &ult ever is to be too diffuse, produced 


his psalm-book, at Crovemment expense, on a scale so huge 
as to be quite unfit for the use for which it was intended. 
Still, like the ^Folkeviaer, it forms a useful storehouse for 
others to collect what is valuable &om, and still continues 
to be the standard edition of religious poetry. 

In Cowley's comedy of * The Guardian ' a poet is intro- 
duced5 who is so miserable that everything he sees reminds 
him of Niobe in tears. * That Niobe, DoggreU, you have 
used worse than Phoebus did. Not a dog looks melancholy 


but he's compared to Niobe/ So it is with the person that 
meets us next upon our pilgrimage. Nothing ever cheers 
or enlivens him ; at the slightest excitement he falls into 
floods of genteel grief, and when other people are laughing* 
he is thinking of Niobe. Andreas Munch, a son of the 
poet-bishop of Christianssand, was bom in 1811, and 
through a long life has been the author of a great many 
lyrical and dramatic volumes. After the turmoil of Sytten- 
demai-Poesi and the rage of the great critical controversy, 
it was rather refreshing to meet with a poet who was nev^* 
startling or exciting, whose song-life was pitched in a minor 
key,and whose personalityseemed moist with dramatic tears. 
If he had no great depth of thought, he had at least con- 
siderable beauty of metrical form, and was always ' in good 
taste.' Andreas Munch basked for a while in universal 
popularity. He was called < Norway's first skald,' but 
whether first in time or first in merit would seem to be 
doubtful. It was not till 1846 that he published any work 
of real importance, and in that year appeared ' Den Een- 
somme (' The Solitary '), a romance founded on the morbi^ 
but fascinating idea of a soul that, folding inward upon 
itself, ever increasingly shuns the fellowship of mankind, 
while the agonies of isolation rack it more and more. 
The scene of the story is laid in modem times, and an 
additional horror is by that means given to an idea which, 
though it would hardly have presented itself to any 
but a sickly mind, is carried out with skill and effect. 
Shortly upon this followed another prose work of consider- 
able merit — 'BUleder fra Nord og Syd ('Pictures from 
' North and South') — ^which had a great success. In 1850 
he printed ' Nye Digte ' (' New Poems'), which are the 


prettiest he has produced, and mark the climax of his ' 
literary life. The melancholy tone of these poems does not 
reach the maudlin, and goes no farther than the shadowy 
pensiveness of which Ingemann had set the example. All 
through life Munch has been strongly influenced by the 
•works of Ingemann, whose most consistent scholar he is. 
Even here, however, we feel that there is want of power and 
importance; these are only verses of occasion. *Miscel- . 
iany Poems,' as our great-grandfeithers called them, the 
world has seen enough of; it is a grave error for an 
eminent writer to add to their number. - 

With the year 1852 begins Munch's period of greatest 
volubility. It would be a weariness to enumerate his works, 
but there are two that we must linger over, because of their 
•extreme popularity, and because they are the very first 
works a novice in Norwegian is likely to meet with; I 
mean the dramas * Solomon de Cans ' and * Lord William 
Sussell.' The first of these was published in 1865, and 
caused a sensation not only in Scandinavia, but as &r as 
Oermany and Holland. De Caus was the man who discovered 
the power of steam, and who was shut up in a mad-house 
as a reward for his discovery. There is decidedly a good 
tragical idea involved in this story, and Munch deserves 
praise for noticing it. But his treatment of the plot leaves 
much to be desired, and a religious element is dragged in, 
which is incongruous and confusing. The poem is fisdrly 
^od, but when so much has been written about it, praising 
it to the skies, one is surprised, on a closer inspection, to find 
it so tame and unreal. Of a better order of writing is 
'Lord William Bussell,' 1857 — on the whole, perhaps, the 
best work of Andreas Munch's — ^well-considered, carefully 


written, and graceful. But there is, even here, little pene- 
tration of character, and the worst fault is that the noble 
figure of Bachel Bussell is drawn so timidly and faintly^ 
that the true tragical heart of the story is hardly brought 
before us at all. Lady Russell, it is true, constantly walks^ 
the stage, but she weeps and sentimentalises, describes the 
landscape, and cries, ' Fie, bad man! ' — does everything, ins 
fact, but show the noble heroism of Bussell's wonderful wife.. 
The dialogue is without vigour, but it is purely and grace- 
foUy written; and, to give the author his due, the play is 
a really creditable production, as modem tragedies go. But 
no one that could read Ibsen would linger over Munch; 
we are about to introduce a dramatist indeed. 

We have still a little way to go before we reach the- 
real founder of the Norwegian drama. We must follow 
Niobe a little farther. Andreas Munch has continued to 
the present date to issue small volumes of lyrics in smart 
succession. Gradually he has lost even the charm of form 
and expression, and his best admirers are getting weary of 
him. In truth, he belongs to the class of graceful senti- 
mentalists, that Hammond and L. E. L. successively re- 
presented with us, and but few of his writings can hope to 
retain the popular ear. One of his latest labours has been 
to translate Tennyson's ' Enoch Arden ' very prettily. In- 
deed, in pretty writing he is unrivalled. 

Andreas Munch fiUs up the interval of repose between 
the old political poetry and the new national school. For 
all their loud talk about patriotism, Wergeland and the rest 
had never thought of taking their inspiration from the 
deep well of national life around them, or from the wealth 
of old songs and sagas. But everything that was healthy 

asbjOrnsen. ' 25 

and rich in promise was to come from the inner heart 
of the nation, and the real future of Norwegian art 
was to be heralded not by Munch's love-sick sonnets, but 
by the folk-songs of Moe, the historical dramas of Ibsen^ 
and the peasant romances of Bjomsteme Bjomsen. The 
man that opened the eyes of students and poets, and 
heralded this revolution in art, was not a poet himself, 
but a zoologist — ^P. C. Asbjomsen, 

This gifted man was bom at Ghristiania in 1812; he 
early showed that bias for natural history which is so com- 
mon among his countrymen, and, being of a brisk tempera* 
ment, has spent most of his life in wandering over shallow 
seas, dredging and investigating. On this mission he 
sailed down the Mediterranean Sea, and has spent a long 
time in exploring the rich fields that lie before a zoo- 
logist on the coasts of Norway itself. But some part of 
every man's life has to be spent on shore, and these months 
Asbjomsen dedicated to investigations of a very different 
kind; he searched among the peasants for stories. Just 
about that time there was a wide-spread desire to save the 
remnants of popular legend before it was too late. The 
Finnish scholars were collecting the Kalewala ; the Bussians 
were hunting up those wild songs of which Mr. Balston 
has lately given us an English selection; Magyar and 
Servian poetry was being carefully amassed. It occurred to 
Asbjomsen to do the same with the mythology of Norway* 
Starting from Bergen, he strolled through the magnificent 
passes of the Justedal and the Bomsdal, drinking in the 
wild beauty of the scenery till it became part of his being, 
and gossiping with every peasant he could meet with. 
When a boatman ferried him across the dark fjord, he 


would coax a story from him about the spirits that haunt 
the waters ; the postboys had fantastic tales to tell about 
the trolls and the wood spirits; the old dames around the 
fire would murmur ancient rites and the horrors of bye-gone 
superstition. When the peasant was shy and would not 
speak, Asbjomsen would tell a story himself, and that never 
failed to break the ice. When he had wandered long enough 
in the west, he crossed the Dovre^eld, and explored the 
valleys of Osterdal, lying along the border of Sweden. The 
results of his labours, and those of the poet Jorgen Moe, 
were published jointly in 1841, as ' Norske Folkeeventyr ' 
{* Norwegian Popular Tales'), a book that made little im- 
pression at the time, but which has grown to be one of the 
bulwarks of Norwegian literature, and which, besides win- 
ning for its principal author a European fame, has had a 
profound influence on the younger poets of our day. 

Dr. Jorgen Moe. now Bishop of Christianssand, whom 
we have just seen helping Asbjomsen to collect folk-stories, 
is himself a poet of no mean order. His nature is not 
active and joyous like that of his associate ; he would seem 
to be one of those diffident and sensitive natures, whose very 
delicacy prevents their pushing their way successfully into 
public notice. Violets, for all their ethereal perfume, are 
easily overlooked, and Jorgen Moe's works are as small, as 
unassuming, as exquisite as violets. The book he is best 
known by is a thin volume of poen^, brought out in 1851 ; 
they have nothing about them to attract particular notice 
till one falls into the spirit of them, and then one is con- 
scious of a wonderful melody, as of sonie Ariel out of sight 
— a sense of perfect, simple expression. The reader is 
transported to the pine-fringed valleys ; he sees the peasants 







jOrgen moe. 27 

at their daily work, he hears the cry of the waterfalls, and 
forgets all the humdrum existence that really lies ahout him. 
These verses have a power of quiet realism that is strangely 
jefreshing; if anyone would know what Norway and its 
people really are, let them read Moe's little lyrical poems. 
The following is far from heing the best, but it is one 
of the most imitable of the collection. 


Gold-red upon headlands and waves without numW, * 
And a soundless silence tenderly lies ' < , •' 

And rocks aU nature to dreamless slumber j ' / i 'A 

Meadow and dmgle 
Keflected; mingle 
With waves that flash over sand and shingle 
In one dim light. 

Ah I slim is the fisherman's hoat^ and jet 

Blgh on the glittering wave it soars, 
The fisherman bends to his laden net, 

While the girls are hushed at the silent oars. 
The soft emotion 
From vale and ocean 
Has quenched the noise of the day's commotion, 
And bound it still. 

And there stands one girl in a dream and sighs, 

While up to the clear warm sky she glances, 

But fall of longing her young thought flies 

To the Christmas games and the whirling dances ; 

The deep red blaze 

Of the evening haze 

Has thrown sparks farther than we can gaze — 

She sees a&r 1 

Thou rich and* rose-coloured summer night, 

Thou givest us more than the bright days bring ; 

O yield to Beauty the best delight^ — 


Let ber dream come to her on gentle wing I 
While her boat caresses 
The low green nesses, 
Lay the silver crown on her maiden tresses. 
As a happy bride I ' 

In 1877 the Bishop of Christiai^sand issued his works^ 
in prose and verse, in two important volumes. 

We now reach the name which stands highest among^ 
the poets of the new school, a star that is still in the ascen- 
dant, and on whom high hopes are built by all who desire 
the inteUectual prosperity of Norway. Henrik Ibsen is a 
man who^ through all difficulties from within and without^, 
has slowly lifted himself higher and higher as an artist, 
and is now in the full swing of literary achievement. But 
I pass over the details of his career, since they form the 
entire subject of my next chapter. 

Let us turn instead to his great rival and opponent. 
The name and fame of Bjomstem Bjomson have spread 
farther over the world's surface than that of any of his 
countrymen. Though he is still yoimg, his works are 
admired and ^igerly read all over the north of Europe^ 
and are popular in America. It is as a romance writer 
that he has met with such unbounded distinction. Who 
has not read ^ Ame,' and felt his heart beat faster with 
sympathy and delight ? Who has not been refreshed by 
the simple story of the ^ Fisher Grirl ' ? It seemed as though 
every kind of story-writing had been abundantly tried, and 
as though a new novel must fall upon somewhat jaded 
ears. But in Bjomson we discovered an author who was^ 
always simple and yet always enchanting; whose spirit 
was as masculine as a Viking's and as pure and tender as- 

1 Appendix D. 

bjOrnson. 29 

a maiden's. Through these little romances there blows a 
wind as fragrant and refreshing as the odour of the 
Trondhjem balsam-willows, blown out to sea to welcome 
the new-comer ; and just as this rare scent is the first 
thing that tells the traveller of Norway, so the purity of 
Bjomson's novelettes is usually the first thing to attract a 
foreigner to Norwegian literature. 

But it is only with his poems that we have here to do, 
and we must not be tempted aside into the analysis of his 
novels. They have, however, this claim on our attention, 
that they contain some of the loveliest songs in the 
language. ' Ame,* published in 1858, is particularly rich 
in these exquisite lyrics, full of a mountain melancholy, 
a delicate sadness native to the lives of solitary and 
sequestered persons. In almost all his early poems, 
Bjomson dwells on the vague longing of youth, the hope- 
less dream of a blue rose in life. Here is one of the lovely 
songs that Arne sings, rendered as closely as I find it 
possible : — 

Through the forest the boy wends all day long, 
For there he has heard such a wonderful song. 

He carved him a flute of the willow tree, 
And tried what the tune within it might be. 

The tune came out of it sad and gay, 
But whUe he listened it passed away. 

He fell asleep, and once more it sung, 
And over his forehead it lovingly hung. 

He thought he would catch it, and wildly woke, 
And the tune in the pale night faded and broke. 

' God, my God, take me up to Thee, 
For the tune Thou hast made is consuming me.' 


And the Lord God said^ ' 'Tis a friend diyine, 
Though never one hour shalt thou hold it thine. 

Yet all other music is poor and thin 

By the dde of this which thou never ahalt win I ' * 

While in his stories he deals with peasant life, so in 
his dramas he draws his afflatus from the rich hoard of 
antique sagas. ^ Mellem Slagene * (' Between the Battles *) 
was the first of these saga-plays. It is very fine. Two 
married folk — Halvard and Inga — once deeply in love 
with one another, begin mutually to tire, and to long, the 
man for the old wild, fighting life ; the woman for her 
pleasant maiden days with her father. They get entan- 
gled in misconceptions, and a reserve creeping in on both 
sides parts them more and more. 'Silence slays more 
than sharp words do,' is the motto of the piece, a motto 
very suggestive to the undemonstrative people of the 
North. The two principal figures, and also that of King 
Sverre, are very keenly drawn. In 1858 there followed 
* Halte Hulda ' (' Lame Hulda '), the story of a girl who 
has lived to be four-and-twenty, loveless and unloved, full 
of grief and physically incapacitated by her lameness, and 
who suddenly falls into passionate and hopeless affection 
for a man she meets. Here again we have a dramatic 
situation, subtly chosen, original, and carefully worked 
out. 'Kong Sverre,' 1861, was the next of these saga- 
dramas, wherein the King Sverre, who acted a secondary 
part in * Mellem Slagene,' becomes chief and centre of 
interest. Much of the latter, however, gathers around the 
bishop, Nicolaus, one of Bjomson's most skilful pieces 
of figure-painting. 'Sigurd Slembe' (1862) closes the 
list of saga-dramas. The author turned next to modem 

' Appendix E. 

bjOrnson. * 31 

history, and published in 1864 ' Maria Stuart i Skotland '' 
(* Mary Stuart in Scotland '), a piece which unfortunately 
suggests comparison with Vondel, Schiller and Swinburne ;. 
it is written in prose. It could be wished that Bjomson had 
chosen some less hackneyed subject. His next effort was in 
quite a different line ; 'De Nygifte ' (' The Newly-married 
Couple '), 1865, is a little prose comedy in high life. The 
hero, having fallen violently in love with a girl too young 
to understand his character, finds out too late that she 
has no notion of the responsibilities of married life, and 
still prefers her parents to himself. He tries to cure her 
by wrenching her suddenly from all old associations, and 
though she is very sullen for a while, he is victorious at 
last, and wins her love. Bjomson has hai'dly allowed 
himself enough space in this little drama ; the evolution 
of character is hurried by the shortness of the scenes ; 
but it is nevertheless ably written. In 1869 he published 
a volume of Songs and Poems. 

He now entered upon a second period, the end of 
which we have not yet seen, and the influence of which 
has, in my opinion, been extremely injurious to BjornsonV 
reputation and to the literature of his country. He began 
his violent and jejune experiments in 1870, with the epic 
poem of * Amljot Grelline,' written in a jargon so uncouth 
that it is sometimes almost impossible to comprehend it» 
In the midst of its eccentricity and barbarism, however^ 
there are certainly fine passages to be found in this poem^ 
which deals with the fell of Olaf the Saint at the battle of 
Stiklestad. The section, in particular, called * Arnljot's 
Longing for the Sea' is of the highest order of lyrie 
poetry ,'and worthy of Byron at his best. In 1872 Bjomson 


tantalised and perplexed his readers with his saga-drama of 
Sigurd Jorsalfar,' a mere hasty sketch, with one magnifi- 
cent scene in which Sigurd the Crusader, imannoimced, 
presents himself, splendid and masculine, like a sea-eagle 
i)athed in sunset colour, with the gold and silk of the East 
upon him, to Borghild, a noble woman long weary and 
ashamed with waiting for his love. The rest of the play 
is hurried and faulty ; this single scene is Shakspearian. 
After a long silence, and much deplorable interference with 
the political &ctions of his fatherland, Bjomson appeared in 
1875 with two satirical comedies — ^ A Bankruptcy,' a poor 
piece, in the G-erman taste, and ' The Editor,' a powerful 
but rabid and unjustifiable personal satire. Since then his 
ine{^titudes have culminated in a democratic drama, ^ The 
King,' a really monstrous fiasco, unworthy of a poet of 
high reputation as a work of art, and, politically speaking, 
l)eneath discussion. In 1877 he produced a clever, but 
sickly and chaotic novel, ' Magnhild.' Each step he takes 
at present seems to land him &rther into provinciality 
and to betray fresh want'^of artistic tact. 

Jonas Lie, whose novels of Norse life at ^sea rival 
Bjomson's early mountain stories in popularity, has also 
written, but fax less abundantly, in verse. He is indeed 
the author of a lyrical drama, ^Faustina Strozzi,' 1875, 
which contains, with certain unfortunate irregularities in 
form and design, some exquisite beauties of detaiL He 
was bom in 1833, and first came before the public with a 
volume of verses as late as 1867. His sea-stories take a 
very high rank, and his most successful novel, * The Pilot 
and his Wife,' is perhaps the best sustained and the most 
accomplished romance that Norway has produced. In 


1878 Lie published a curious and ingenious psychological 
study, ' Thomas Eoss,' which has not quite the same charm 
-as his simpler stories. 

With this writer we will draw our survey of Norwegian 
poetry to a close. Nothing has been said here about the 
Terse written in the dialect of the peasants, of which the 
^eat linguist Ivar Aasen (bom in 1813), by moulding 
with the old Norse, has made a sort of new language. 
This peasant Norse has had a galvanic life imparted to it by 
"the exertions of its inventor, and a good poet (K. Janson, 
bom in 1841) has been found enthusiastic enough to 
-write exclusively in it. The chief objection to the move- 
ment seems to be that it would make Norwegian literature 
more remote and undecipherable than ever ; on the other 
liand, it is no doubt an advantage that the peasant should 
imderstand when he is preached to and written for. The 
creator of this language of the future, Aasen, is a man of 
high and versatile genius, and has himself contributed 
several poems to the new literature. For the rest its 
principal cultivators have been Vinje (1818-1870), the 
^author, among other things, of a rather truculent book on 
English life, and Janson, who is a young writer of con- 
•siderable activity. But this fancy language lies out of our 
province; if worth the consideration of Englishmen at 
a.11, it should be studied as a branch of philology. 

We have now followed the literary life of this young 
nation for more than half a century. We have seen how 
the sudden political wrench, that divided it from its neigh- 
hour, gave it power to throw oflf the Danish influence and 
strike out a new path for itself. We have seen, too, how 
bravely, in spite of much weakness, and folly, and extrava- 



gance, it succeeded in doing this, and in becoming self- 
reliant and healthily critical; how, when the age or 
criticism had sobered and moulded it, it ceased to look 
outwards for artistic impressions, but sought in its own 
heart and soul for high and touching themes. The reader 
who has followed the history of this development will 
hardly fiedl to allow that in the circumstances of thi& 
thinly peopled country of magnificent resources, whose 
youth is unexhausted by the effeminate life of towns and 
whose language is still fresh and unrifled, there lies a 
noble promise of intellectual vigour. 


Thebb is now living at Munich a middle-aged Norwegian 
gentleman, who walks in and out among the inhabitants 
oifthat gay city, observingall things, observed of few, retired, 
contemplative, unaggressive. Occasionally he sends a roll 
of MS. off to Copenhagen, and the Danish papers announce 
that a new poem of Ibsen's is about to appear. This 
announcement causes more stir than, perhaps, any other 
can, among literary circles in Scandinavia, and the elegant 
Swedish journalists point out how graceful an opportunity 
it would be for the illustrious poet to leave his voluntary 
exile, and return to be smothered in flowers and flowery 
speeches. Norwegian friends, expressing themselves more 
tersely, think that the greatest Norse writer ought to come 
home to live. Still, however, he remains in Germany, 
surrounded by the nationality least pleasing to his taste, 
within daily earshot of sentiments inexpressibly repugnant 
to him, watching, noting, digging deeper and deeper into 
the dark places of modem life, developing more and more 
a vast and sinister genius. 

A land of dark forests, gloomy waters, barren peaks, 
inundated by cold sharp airs off Arctic icebergs, a land 

D 2 


where Nature must be won with violence, not wooed by 
the siren-songs of dream-impulses ; Norway is the home 
of vigorous, ruddy lads and modest maidens, a healthy- 
population, unexhausted and unrestrained. Here a man 
can open his chest, stride onward upright and sturdy, say- 
out his honest word and be unabashed ; here, if anywhere, 
human nature may hope to find a just development. And 
out of this young and sturdy nation two writers have arisen 
who wear laurels on their brows and are smiled on by Apollo. 
Bjomson is well known, by this time, to many Englishmen : 
he represents the happy buoyant side of the life of his 
fatherland; he is what one would naturally expect a 
Norwegian author to be — ^rough, manly, unpolished, a young 
Titan rejoicing in his animal spirits. Ibsen, on the other 
hand, is a quite unexpected product of the mountain-lands, 
a typical modem European, a soul full of doubt and sorrow 
and imfiilfilled desire, piercing downward into the dark, 
profound. Promethean — a dramatic satirist. 

Modem life is a thing too complex and too delicate to 
bear such satire as thrilled through the fierce old world. 
In Ezekiel we see the thunders and lightnings of the Lord 
blasting the beautiful evil body of Aholah ; in Juvenal, 
the iron clank of horse-hoofs is ringing on the marble 
pavement, till, in crushing so^ie wretched debauchee, they 
mingle his blood with the spilt wine and the vine-wreaths. 
But neither divine nor human invective of this sort is 
possible now — it would not cure but kill. Modem satire 
laughs while it attacks, and takes care that the spear- 
shaft shall be covered up in roses. Whether it be Ulrich 
von Hutten, or Pope, or Voltaire, the same new element 
of finesse is to be found ; and if a Marston rises up as a 

IBSEN. 37 

would-be Juvenal, the world just shrugs its shoulders and 
forgets him. As the ages bring in their advancements in 
civilisation and refinement, the rough old satire becomes 
increasingly impossible, till a namby-pamby generation 
threatens to loathe it altogether as having * no pity in it/ 
The writings of Ibsen form the last and most polished phase > 
of this slow development, and exhibit a picture of life so 
perfect in its smiling sarcasm and deliberate anatomy, 
that one accepts it at once as the distinct portraiture of 
one of the foremost spirits of an age. Ibsen has many 
golden arrows in his quiver, and he stands, cold and serene, 
between the dawn and the darkness, shooting them one by 
one into the valley below, each truly aimed at some folly, 
some afifectation, in the every-day life we lead. 

Henrik Ibsen was born on March 20, 1828, at Skien, 
a small market town on the sea in the south-east of Nor- 
way. He began active life as an apothecary, with a joyous 
and fermenting brain, a small stock of knowledge and a 
still smialler stock of money. But poetry and scholarship 
were dearer to him than all things, and ft is easy to conceive 
that the small world of Skien became intolerable to him. 
He wrote a tragedy, and met with a Maecenas who would 
publish it; and, after some delay, there appeared at 
Christiania, in 1850, ' Catiline,' a drama in three acts, by 
Brynjolf Bjarme. Under this imcouth pseudonym a new 
poet concealed himself, but the public were none the wiser, 
and only thirty copies were sold. ' Catiline ' is the work 
of a boy ; it is marked by all the erotic and revolutionary 
extravagances usual in the efforts of youths of twenty. 
The iambic verses are very bad ; the writer has evidently 
read little, and scarcely thought at all, but there is a certain 


vigour running through it which seduces one into reading 
it despite one's self. With this precious production under 
his arm, Ihsen came to the capital in 1851, and began to 
study at the University, He never attained to a very 
splendid career — ^there he began too late for that — ^but he 
did feirly well, being well-grounded in Latin. * Catiline * 
shows that he had read his Sallust well in the old days at 
Skien, At the University he fell in with a cUque of lads 
of earnest mind and good intelligence, several of whom 
have made a name in literature ; Bjomson was there and 
Vinje, called the Peasant; Botten-Hansen, the biblio- 
grapher; and Frithjof Foss, the novelist. These young 
contemporaries schemed nothing less than an entire 
revolution in literature. They b^an to set about it by 
founding a newspaper, called, I do not know why, ' And- 
hrimner,' which professed the same critical independence, 
and shared the same early fate, as the celebrated ' Grerm ' 
among ourselves. ' Andhrimner ' was published by Botten- 
Hansen, , Ibsen, and Vinje, and contained nothing but 
original poetry, criticism, and aesthetics. After a sickly 
existence of nine months, it went out. Among Ibsen's 
numerous contributions was a long drama, ' Norma, or a 
Politician's Love,' a most impertinent lampoon on the 
honourable members of his Majesty's Storthing, of which 
the first act is said to be in extremely witty and delicate 
verse. But * Andhrimner ' has become a great rarity, a 
bibliographical prize, and I have never seen it. When it 
ceased in 1851, Ibsen was so fortunate as to meet with a 
gifted man who stt once perceived his genius, Ole Bull, the 
great violinist. At his intercession Ibsen became director 
of the theatre at Bergen, and held the post till 1 857. In 

IBSEN. 39 

1852 he travelled in Denmark and Germany, met Heiberg, 
the great poet-critic, at Copenhagen, and came back 
mightily dissatisfied with Norway and himself. The 
theatre was a source of constant vexation to him, and 
•during the six years he spent at Bergen hia genius seems to 
liave been in some degree under a cloud. He wrote a great 
deal while he was there, but most of it has been destroyed, 
and what remains is unworthy of him ; he produced two 
or three plays on his own stage, but would not print or 
preserve them; one , little piece which he did print as a 
feuilleton to a Bergen paper in 1854 was rather flimsy in 
texture. In 1857 the younger poet, Bjornson, took the 
direction of the Bergen house, and Ibsen came up to 
Christiania to direct the National Theatre there. He was 
now almost thirty* years of age, and had not written one 
great work ; it is often the loftiest minds that attain man- 
hood most slowly. May-flies reach perfection in a day 
.and another day sees their extinction, while great souls 
strengthen themselves in a long-drawn adolescence. But 
-our poet had finished his chrysalis-life at last. For the 
next seven years he produced several historical dramas 
of great and increasing merit ; but I do not purpose at 
present to speak of these, nor of his political or mis- 
cellaneous poems, but only of his three great satires. 
And forthwith let us pass to them. 

It was not till 1863 that Ibsen discovered the natural 
l)ent of his genius. Until that year no one could tell that 
he was bom to be a satirist. Now, after reading his great 
latter poems, one can perceive traces of that loffcy invective, 
which was to be his final culmination, even in the earlier 
^nd purely historical dramas. But when * Kjserlighedens 


Komedie ' (Love's Comedy,) a satirical play of our own gene- 


ration, first appeared in Norway, there were very few among: 
the poet's admirers to whom it was not a great surprise to 
find him to be a master of so entirely new a style. The 
older pieces, being hewn out of an antique and lovely source^ 
were fittingly robed in terse prose ; this, being concerned- 
with the prosaic trivialities of to-day, needed and received 
all the delicate finish of epigrammatic verse. The original 
is written in rhyme, but I have translated into blank verse i 
a rhymed play being a shocking thing to English readers 
since Dryden's day, whereas it is still a familiar phenomenon, 
in the classic literature of Scandinavia. The scene of ' Love'a 
Comedy ' is laid in a garden in the suburbs of Christiania, in 
the summer-time. A Mrs. Halm, a widow, having a large 
house, takes in lodgers, among whom are Hawk, the hero, 
and Lind, a theological student. Hawk, a young poet 
brimming over with revolutionary theories and revolting, 
with his whole soul against the conventionality of the day 
with regard to amatory and aesthetic matters, has deter- 
mined to give his life to the destruction of what is false 
and sterile in modem society. As it happens, the present 
moment is opportune for commencing the attack. At 
Mrs. Halm's there is gathered a congregation of Philis- 
tines of all sorts, and love, so-called, is the order of theday^ 
Unsuspicious of his intentions, the various pseudo-lovers 
sport and intrigue around him in what seems to, him an 
orgy of hideous dulness and impotent conventionality* 
His scorn is lambent at first, a laughing flame of derision ; 
but it rises by degrees into a tongue of lashing, scathing 
fire that bursts all bonds of decorum. The scene opens in 
the evening, while the party sit about on the grass. Hawk 

* LOVE'S comedy; 41 

has been asked to sing his last new song, and thus he pro* 
claims the ca/rpe ddem that is his ideal : — 

In the sunny orchard-closes, 

While the warblers sing and swing, 
Oare not whether blustering Autumn 

Break the promises of Spring ; 
Bose and white the apple-blossom 

Hides you from the sultry sky ; 
Let it flutter, blown and scattered, 

On the meadows by-and-by. 

Will you ask about the fruitage 

In the season of the flowers P 
WiU you murmur, will you question, 

Count the run of weary hours ? 
Will you let the scarecrow clapping 

Drown all happy sounds and words P 
Brothers, there is better music 

In the singing of the birds ! 

From your heavy laden garden 

Will you hunt the meUow thrush ? 
He will pay you for protection 

With his crown-song's liquid rush t 
* ! but you will win the bargain. 

Though your fruit be spare and late. 
For remember. Time is flying. 

And will shut your garden-gate. 

With my living, with my singing, 

I will tear the hedges down t 
Sweep the grass and heap the blossom, 

Let it shrivel, pale and brown ! 
Swing the wicket t Sheep and cattle, 

Let them graze among the best ! 
I broke off the flowers ; what matter 

Who may revel with the rest ! ^ 

This song wakens a good deal of discussion. The ladies 
are against it on the score of economy; the gentlemen 

* Appendix F. 


think the idea very good in theory. The first person who 
rubs against Hawk's susceptibilities is Stiver, a dull clerk, 
who is engaged in due form to a Miss Magpie, who is 
present. This Stiver confesses to have written verses. 

Stiver, Not now, you know ! all that was long ago, — 
Was when I was a lover. 

Hawk, Is that past P 

Is the wine-frenzy of your love slept off? 

Stiver, Oh ! now I am officially engaged. 

And that is more«than being in love, I think 1 ^ 

Some one speaks about 'next' Spring, and Hawk 
expresses his hatred of ' that wretched word ': — 

Hawk, It makes the shareholders of pleasure bankrupt ! 
If I were only Sultan for an hour, 
A running noose about its coward neck 
Should make it bid the joyous world good-bye I 

Stiver, What is your quarrel with the'hopeful word ? 

Hawk. This, — that it darkens for us God's fiur world ! 
In ' our next love ' and ' when we marry next,' 
In ' our next mealtime ' and in our * next life,' 
'Tis the anticipation in the word, 
Tis that that beggars so the sons of Joy, 
That makes our modem life so hard and cold. 
That slays enjoyment in the living Present. 
You have no rest until your shallop strikes 
Against the shingle of the ' next ' design, 
And, that accomplisht, there is still a ' next,' 
And so in toil and hurry, toil and pain, 
The years slip by and you slip out of life, — 
God only knows if there is rest beyond. 

Miss Magpie. How can you talk in that way, Mr. Hawk ? 
My sweetheart must not hear a word you say t 
He's only too eccentric now I [to Stiver"] My love ! 
Come here a moment ! 

Stiver \langmdly and stooping to dean his pipe"] 1 am coming, dear !' 

From the prosaic Stiver, for whom engagement has 

> Appendix G. * Appendix H. 


robbed love of its charm, we turn to Lind, who is in all the 

delicious ecstasy of a passion returned but unproclaimed. 

Heferring to Lind's temporary glamour of poetical feeling, 

Hawk remarks that you can always ' stuff a prosing fool, — 

As pitilessly as a Strasburg goose^ 

With rhyming nonsense and with rhythmic humbug, 

Until his lights and liver, mind and soul 

(But turn him inside out), are found quite full 

Of lyric fat and crumbs of rhetoric.^ 

The company, becoming piqued, turn upon him, and 

•charge him with neglecting poetry ; they suggest that he 

should shut himself up in an arbour of roses, and then he 

is sure to be inspired. He replies that the enjoyment of 

:nature unrestrained prevents the creation of poetry ; that 

the imaginative beauty thrives best in, an imprisoned soul. 

Cover my eyeballs with the mould of blindness, 

And I will celebrate the lustrous heavens ; 

Or give me for a month, in some grim tower, 

A pang, an anguish or a giant sorrow. 

And I will sing the jubilee of life ; 

Or else. Miss Magpie, give me just a bride I 

They all cry out upon him, Love's blasphemer, for he 

-exclaims that he desires a bride, that — he may lose her. 

For in the very Bacchic feast of fortune 

She might be caught into eternity. 

I need a little spiritual athletics : 

Who knows how such a loss might strengthen me !^ 

At this moment the two sensible people of the drama 
interpose — Svanhild, who is the only woman with a soul in 
the piece, and Guldstad, a sober merchant. Svanhild pro- 
poses a high spiritual aim for Hawk ; Gruldstad proposes 
to drive off his * morbid fancies ' with a little manual 
labour. Hawk replies: — 

* Appendix I. , « Appendix J. 


I'm like a donkey bound between two stalls ; 
'A.e left hand gives me flesh, the right hand spirit ; 
I wonder which 'twere wisest to choose first ! 

Then is introduced the third pair of pseudo-lovers — the^ 
Eev. Mr. Strawman, an uxorious priest with an enormous 
family, who exemplifies the worst type of the great parody 
of love. The description of his early life, romantic wooing^ 
disappointed aims, are most amusingly given in brisk and 
witty dialogue, Hawk sneering ever more bitterly as the 
description proceeds. The wooing of Mr. Strawman was- 
most sentimental: 

He loved her to the tones of his guitar. 
And she responded on the harpsichord, 
And first they lived on credit. 

Among the troop of old and young gathered around' 
him, it is in Lind's amour only that Hawk can take plea- 
sure. Lind and Anna love one another, and no one but 
themselves and Hawk have guessed it. Suddenly Hawk is 
horrified by a suspicion that it is Svanhild that Lind loves. 
He turns away angry, and sick at heart. True love, re- 
served, tender, genuine, is not to be found; the whole 
world is old and sterile ; all good impulses and hopes are* 
dead. This he says to Svanhild when they are alone, and 
she upbraids him with dreamy insincerity. 

Svan. Last year the Faith in Syria was menaced ; 
Did you go out, a warrior for the Gross P 
Oh ! no ; on paper you were warm enough, 
And sent a dollar when the * Ohurch Times ' asked it f 

[Sawk walks up and dovm.l 
Hawk, are you angry ? 

Hawk, No, but I am musing. 

See, that is all U 

Svan, You have two different natures, 

And each unlike — 


* LO VE'B COMEDY.' 46 

Hawk, Oh yes I I know it well t 

JSvcm, What is the reason ? 

JSawk, Reason P That I hate 

To go about with all my soul uncovered, 
And, like good people's love, a common thing, — 
To, go about with cdl my heart's warmth bare, 
As women go about with naked arms ! 
You were the only one — you, Svanhild, you — 
I thought so, once — ^but ah ! all that is past — 

[iSAa twTM and gazes.'] 

You listen — ? 

JSvan, To another voice that speaks ! 

Hush ! every evening when the sun goes down 
A little bird comes flying — do you hear ? — 
Ah ! see, it flits out of the leafy shade- 
Now, can you guess what I believe and hold ? 
To every soul that lacks the singing gift 
God sends a little tender bird as friend, — 
For it created and for its own garden ! 

Mawk [takes up a stone"]. 

Then if the bird and soul can never meet, 
The song is never fluted out elsewhere P 

JSvan, No, that is true! But I have found my bird. 
I have no gift of tongues, no singer's voice. 
But when my sweet bird warbles from its bough, 
A poem seems to well up in my heart, — 
But ah ! the poem f&des away and dies I 

[Hawk throws the st<me» SvanhUd screams,] 

Oh Gk)d ! you struck it ! Oh I what have you done I 

Oh ! That was wicked, shameful ! 
Mawk. [passionately agitated] Eye for eye, 

And tooth for tooth, pure legal justice, Svanhild. 

Now no one greets you longer from on high. 

And no more gifts come from the land of song. 

See, that is my revenge for your ill deed ! 
JSvan, For my ill deed P 
Hawk, Yes, yours ! Until this hour 

A singing-bird was warbling in my breast. 

Ah I now the bell may chime above them both, 

For you have kiUed it I 
Svan, Have I ? 


Each simile is crooked ; now^ hear mine, 
Then turn and twist it any way you wish ! 
Far in the dreamy East there grows a plant 
Whose native home is the Sun's Cousin's garden— 

ARthe Ladies. Oht it is tea I 

Mawk, It is ! 

The Ladies. To think of tea I 

Hawk, Its home lies far in the Valley of Romance, 
A thousand miles beyond the wildemeas I 
Fill up my cup ! I thank you I Let us have 
On tea and love a good tea-table talk. 

[They gather rotmd him."] 
It has its home away in Fableland, 
Alas ! and there, too, is the home of Love. 
Only the children of the Sun, we know, 
Oan cultivate the herb or tend it well. 
And even so it is with Love, my Mends : 
A drop of sun -blood needs must circulate 
Through our dull veins, before the passionate Love 
Oan root itself, or shoot and blossom forth. 

• • • . a . • 

Miss Magpie. But love and love are everywhere the same ; 
Tea has varieties and qualities. 

Mrs. Strawman. Yes, tea is bad or good or pretty good. 

Anna. The young green shoots are thought the best of all. 

SvanhUd. That kind is only for the Sun's bright Daughters. 

A Towng Lady. They say that it intoxicates like ether ! 

Another. Fragrant as lotus and as sweet as almond ! 

Ouldstad. That kind of import never reaches us ! 

JSawk. I think that in his nature everyone 

Has got a littie ' Heavenly Empire ' in him 

Where, on the twigs, a thousand such sweet buds 

Form under shadow of that falling Wall 

Of Ohina, bashfulness ; where, imdemeath 

The shelter of the quaiqt kiosk, there sigh 

A troop of Fancy's littie Ohina doUs, 

Who dream and dream, v^th damask round their loins. 

And in th^ hands a golden tulip-flower. 

The first-fruits of Love's harvest were for them. 

And we just have the rubbish and the stalks. 

And now the last point of similitude : — 

< love's comedy.' 49 

See how the hand of culture presses down 

The ' Heavenly Empire ' out in the far East ; 

Its great Wall moulders and its strength is gone, 

The last of genuine mandarins is hanged, 

And foreign deyils gather in the crops. 

Soon the whole thing will merely be a legend, 

A wonder-story nobody believes : 

The whole wide world is painted gray on gray, 

And Wonderland for ever is gone past. 

But have we Love P Oh t where, oh I where is Love ? 

Nay, Love is also banished out of sight. 

But let us bow before the age we live in ! 

Drink, drink in tea to Love discrowned and dead I ^ 

There is intense indignation among the pseudo-lovers, 
and Hawk is driven out of their society, scarcely saved 
from the fate of Orpheus. Svanhild comes out to 
him, and for a little while they enjoy the exquisite 
pleasure of true and honest love. But, to hasten to the 
end. Hawk discovers that marriage would destroy the 
bloom and beauty of this sweet passion. He dreads a 
time when Svanhild will no longer inspire and glorify 
him, and the poem ends in a most tragical manner by the 
separation for ever of the only two hearts strong enough 
to shake off the tranmiels of conventionality. The Age 
weighs too heavily upon even them, and, to spare them- 
selves future agony, they tear themselves apart while the 
bond is still fresh and tender between them. 

The whole poem — its very title of * Love's Comedy ' — 
is a piece of elaborate irony. We may believe that it is 
rather Svanhild than the extravagant Hawk who speaks 
the poet's mind. It is impossible to express in brief 
quotation the perfection of faultless verse, the epigram- 
matic lancet-thrusts of wit, the boundless riot of mirth 

' Appendix N. 


that make a lyrical saturnalia in this astonishing drama. 
A complete translation alone could give a shadow of the 
force of the original. 

In 1864 Ibsen left Norway, and, as far as I know, has 
only once re-entered it. For a long while he was domi- 
ciled in Some, and while there he wrote the book which 
has popularised his name most thoroughly. It seemed as 
though the poetical genius in him expanded and de- 
veloped in the intellectual atmosphere of Borne. It is not 
that ^ Brand' is more harmonious in conception than 
the earlier works-^for let it be distinctly stated, Ibsen 
never attains to repose or perfect harmony — ^but the scope 
was larger, the aim more Titanic, the moral and mental 
horizon wider than ever before. Brand, the hero of the 
book, is a priest in the Norwegian Church ; the temper of 
his mind is earnest to the point of fanaticism, consistent 
beyond the limits of tenderness and humanity. He wiU 
have all or nothing, no Sapphirar-dividings or Ananias- 
equivocations — ^the whole heart must be given or all is 
void. He is sent for to attend a dying man, but in order 
to reach him he must cross the raging Fjord in a small 
boat. So high is the storm, that no one dares go with 
him : but jusjt as he is pushing off alone, Agnes, a young 
girl of heroic temperament who has been conquered by 
his intensity, leaps in with him, and they safely row 
across. Brand becomes priest of the parish, and Agnes, 
in whose soul he finds everything that his own demands, 
becomes his wife. In process of time a son is bom to 
him. The physician declares that unless they move to 
some healthier spot — the parish is a noisome glen that 
does not see the sun for half the year — ^the babe must 

BRAND. 51 


<iie. Brand, believing that duty obliges him to stay at 
Ms post, will not leave it. His child dies, and the 
mother dies; Brand is left alone. At last his mother 
comes to live with him, a worldly woman with a frivolous 
heart ; she will not submit to his religious supremacy, and 
dies imblessed and unannealed. Her property now falls 
into Brand's hands, and he dedicates it all to the rebuild- 
ing of the church. The satire now turns on the life in 
the village ; the portraits of the various officers, school- 
master, bailiff, and the rest, are incisively and scathingly 
drawn. All society is reviled for its universal worldliness, 
laziness, and lukewarmness. At last the church is finished. 
Brand, with the keys in his hand, stands on the door- 
step and harangues the people. His sermon is a philippic 
•of the bitterest sort ; all the worpiwood of disappointed 
desire for good, all the burning sense of useless sacrifice, 
vain offerings of heart and breath to a thankless genera- 
tion, all is summed up in a splendid outburst of invective. 
In the end he throws the keys far out into the river, and 
flies up the mountain-side away into desolation and soli- 
tude.^ As a piece of artistic work, * Brand' is most 
wonderful ; a drama of nearly three hundred pages, 
written in short rhymed lines, sometimes rhyming four or 
five times, and never flagging in energy or interest, is a 
wonder in itself. Eight large editions of this book have 
been sold — a greater success than any other work of the 
poet has attained. A very great number of copies were 
bought in Denmark, where, just now, religious writing is 
at the height of fashion, and doubtless the subject of 

» The similarity of this plot to that of Sydney Dobell's « Balder,' 
published twelve years earlier, is worthy of note, 

B 2 


' Brand ' accounts in some measure for its extraordinary 
popularity in that country. The verse in which it is- 
written is a finished and lovely work of a high lyrical order. 

The following song has attained a special popularity 
throughout Scandinavia : — 

Wnitr. Agnes, my exquisite butterfly, 

I wiU catch you sporting and winging ; 
I am weaving a net with meshes small, 
And the meshes are my sin^ng. 

Agnes, If I am a butterfly, tender and small, 

From the heather-bells do not snatch me ; 
But since you are a boy, and are fond of a game, 
You may hunt, though you must not catch me 

Mnar, Agnes, my exquisite butterfly. 

The meshes are all spun ready ; 
It will help you nothing to flutter andfla p : 
You are caught in the net already. 

Agnes. That I am a butterfly, bright and young, 
A swinging butterfly, say you P 
Then ah ! if you catch me under your net, 
Don't crush my wings, I pray you I 

Mnar. No I I will daintily lift you up. 
And shut you into my breast ; 
There you may shelter the whole of your life. 
Or play, as you love best.^ 

It was among the lemon-groves of Ischia, under the^ 
torrid glare of an Italian summer, that Ibsen began his 
next, and, as I believe, greatest work. There is no trace 
of the azure munificence of sea and sky in the luxurious- 
and sultry South, about * Peer Gynt ; ' it is the ioaost ex- 
clusively Norwegian of his poems in scenery and feeling. 
Strange that in the * pumice isle,' with the crystalline- 
waves of the Mediterranean lapping around him, far 

' A pendix 0. 

*PEER GYNT.' 53 

removed from home faces and home influences, he could 
:shape into such perfect form a picture of rough Norse life 
Tjy fjord and fjeld. * Peer Gynt ' takes its name from its 
hero, an idle feUow whose aim is to Uve his own life, and 
"whose chief characteristics are a knack for story-telling 
:and a dominant passion for lies. It is the converse of 
-^ Brand ; ' for while that drama strove to wake the nation 
into earnestness by holding up before it an ideal of stain- 
less virtue, ' Peer Gynt ' idealises in the character of its 
ibero the selfishness and mean cunning of the worst of 
ambitious men. In form, this poem, like the preceding, 
is written in a variety of lyrical measures, in short rhyming 
lines ; but there is a brilliant audacity, a splendour of 
tumultuous melody, that ^ Brand' seldom attained to* 
Ibsen has written nothing so sonorous as some of the 
passages in * Peer G-ynt.' . 

The hero is first introduced to us as playing a rough 
practical joke on his mother ; he is a rude shaggy lad of 
-violent instincts and utter lawlessness of mind. We find 
him attending a wedding, and, after dancing with the 
l^ride, snatching her up and running up the mountain-side 
with her. Then he leaves her to make her way down 
:again ignominiously. For this ill deed he is outlawed, 
and lives in the caves of the Dovref jeld, haunted by strange 
^spirits, harassed by weird sensualities and fierce hallucina- 
tions. The atmosphere of this part of the drama is ghostly 
and wild ; the horrible dreams of the great lad are shown 
as incarnate but shadowy entities. He grows a man 
among the mountains, and is introduced to the King of 
the Trolds, who urges him to marry his daughter and 
settle among them. Under the figure of the Trolds, the 


party in Norway which demands commercial isolation and 
monopoly for home products is most acutely satirised. At 
last Peer Q-ynt slips down to the sea-shore and embarks^ 
for America. These events, and many more, take up the 
first three acts^ which almost form a complete poem in*, 
themselves ; these acts contain little satire, but a humor- 
ous and vivid picture of Norse manners and character. To- 
a foreigner who knows a little of Nonvay and would fain 
know more, these acts of ^Peer Gynt' are a delicious 
feast. Through them he is brought face to face with the 
honest merry peasants, and behind all is a magnificent 
landscape of mountain, forest, and waterfall. 

With the fourth act there is a complete shifting of 
motive, time, place, and style. We are transported, after 
a lapse of twenty years, to the coast of Morocco, where 
Peer Grynt, a most elegant middle-aged gentleman, enter- 
tains a select party of fiiends on the sea-shore. He has 
been heaping up fortune in America ; he has traded * in 
stockings. Bibles, rum and rice,' but most of all in negro- 
slaves to Carolina and heathen gods to China. In short,, 
he is a full-blown successful hiunbug, unscrupulous and 
selfish to the last degree. While he is asleep, his friends, 
run oflF with his yacht,* and are blown up by an explosion 
into thin air. He is left alone and penniless on the 
African shore. He crosses the desert and meets with 
endless adventures : each adventure is a clear-cut jewel of 
satire. Here is a subtle lampoon on the way in which 
silly people hail each new boaster as the Man of the 
Future, and worship the idol themselves have built up. 
Peer — ^the bubble,|the humbug — appears in an Arab camp^ 
and is received as a manifestation of the divine Muham- 

'PEER GYNT.' 66 

mad himself. A chorus of girls do homage to him, led on 
by Anitra^ the very type of a hero-hunting woman : — 

Chorus, The Prophet is come I 

The Prophet, the Master, the all-proyiding, 
To us, to us, is he come, 
Over the sand-sea riding ! 
The Prophet, the Master, the neyer-&iling. 
To us, to us, is he come. 
Through the sand-sea sailing. 
Sound the flute and the drum ; 
The Prophet, the Prophet is come I 
jinkra. His steed was the milk-white flood 

That streams through the rivers of Paradise ; 
His hair is Are and stars are his eyes. 
So bend the knee ! Let your heads be bowed t 
No child of earth can bear. 
His starry face and his flaming hair I 
Over the desert he came. 
Out of his breast sprang gold like flame. 
Before him the land was light. 

Behind him was night ; 
Behind him went drought and dearth. 
He, the majestic, is come ! 
Over the desert is come ! 
Robed like a child of earth. 
Kaaba, Eaaba stands dumb, 
Foriom of its lord and light. 
Chonui, Sound the flute and the drum ; 

The Prophet, the Prophet is come I * 

Another episode introduces one of those ill-advised 
persons who strive to prevent the use of classical Danish 
in Norway, and substitute for it a barbarous language 
collected orally from among the peasants — a harsh, shape- 
less, and unnatural jargon. One of these writers is intro- 
duced to Peer in Egypt ; he is flying westwards, seeking 
for an asylum for his theories. He tries to win Peer Grynt's 
gympaihy thus : — 

' Appendix P. 


Listen I In the East afar 
Stands tlie coast of Malabar. 
Europe like a hungry vulture 
Orerpowers the land with culture. 
For tiie Dutch and Portuguese 
Hold the country at their ease. 
Where the natives once held sway. 
Now their chiefs are driven away ; 
And the new lords have combined 
In a language to their mind. 
In the olden days long fled, 
Th' Ourang-Outang was lord and head. 
He was chief by wood and flood, 
Snared and slaughtered as he would ; 
Ab the hand of nature shaped, 
So he grinned and so he gaped ; 
Unabashed he howled and yelled, 
For the reins of state he held. 
Out alas I for Progress came, 
And destroyed his name and fame ; 
All the monkey-men with ears 
Vanished for four hundred years ; 
If we now would preach or teach, 
We must use the help of speech. 
I alone have striven hard 
To become a monkey-bard ; 
I have vivified the cbream, 
Proved the people's right to scream, 
Screamed myself, and, by inditing, 
Showed its use in folk-song-writing. 
Oh I that I could make men see 
The bliss of being apes like me I ^ 

It is said that these lines have had a greater effect in 
stopping the movement than all denmiciations of learned 
professors and the indignation of philologists. 

Between the fourth and fifth acts twenty years more 
elapse. Peer wins a new fortune in GaUfomia, and finally 
comes back to Norway to enjoy it. The opening scene 

* Appendix Q. 


'Carries us up one of the perilous passages on the Norse 
•coast, a storm meanwhile rising and at last breaking on 
the ship. All hands are lost save Peer, who finds himself 
in his fatherland again, but penniless and friendless. 
Solvejg, a woman who has constantly and unweariedly 
loved him all his Ufe, receives him into her cottage, and 
he dies in her arms as she sings a dream-song over him. 

* Love's Comedy,' * Brand,' and *Peer Grynt,' despite 
their varied plots, form a great satiric trilogy — ^perhaps 
for sustained vigour of expression, for affluence of execu- 
tion, and for brilliance of dialogue, the greatest of modem 
times. They form at present Ibsen's principal and fore- 
most claim to immortality ; their influence over thought 
in the North has been boundless, and sooner or later they 
will win for their author the hoinage of Europe. He has 
also published two very successful satiric comedies, * The 
Young Men's Union ' in 1 869, and ' The Pillars of Society ' 
in 1877. The former is a comedy in prose, the scene of 
which is laid in a little country town, perhaps Skien 
being meant, to judge by certain hints; the subject- 
matter is taken from the ordinary political life in the 
provinces, and a good deal of airy satire is expended on 
the frivolity and short-sightedness of embryo politicians. 
The interest centres around a young lawyer, gifted with 
-some brains, no tact, and boundless impudence, who builds 
up for himself a dream of successful ambition, and has 
it tumbled about his ears like a house of cards in the 
fifth act. This young man, Stensgaard, tries to win 
the sympathy of the lower classes, and especially of 
the turbulent youth, by denouncing the proprietary 
•class. But by an accident he gets admitted himself 


into the society of this local aristocracy, and might, if he^ 
had a grain of decision or a particle of sound sense, he^ 
out a path from this higher elevation. But he must needs 
grasp all, and loses everything. He forms a Forbund or 
Union, a collection of young men that meet to drink a. 
health to Freedom, sing odes to Old Norway, and celebrate- 
the 17th of May, the day of the independence of Norway^ 
These absurdities were once a serious weakness to the 
State, but now they are banished from rational society,, 
and are only cultivated in such crude assemblies as those 
our poet satirises. But Stensgaard, with shallow cunnings 
tries to manoeuvre for the support of both classes, and as the 
election times are approaching, he determines to canvas for 
a place in the Storthing. At the same time he urges a 
love-suit on three ladies at once, or rather by turns. To- 
the least experienced playgoer it will be obvious that this- 
complicated intrigue gives opportunity for plenty of comical 
incident, and accordingly the young lawyer builds his- 
castles in the air for awhile, till the political and amatory^ 
schemes are ripe, and then in a very amusing final scene 
all his tricks are exposed, and he himself vanishes inta 
thin air. The dialogue is everywhere sprightly, and its 
limpid flow is seldom interrupted by those metaphysical 
subtleties whi^h are the poet's too great delight. In the 
character of Stensgaard, Ibsen is more than half suspected 
of laughing at his rival Bjomson, whose political freaks 
were, about the time when this play was produced, exciting^ 
remark for the first time. 

Not a few of the critics of the great poet ventured to- 
hope that he would select for his next work a subject less 
local than those purely Norwegian scenes which he was 


accustomed to draw, and which, however brilliantly painted,, 
were to the world at large of comparatively trivial impor- 
tance. In 1873 he appeared to respond to this hope in 
publishing a work of great ambition, the theme of which 
had certainly a European and a universal interest. This 
book, originally projected, according to report, as a 
trilogy, actually consists of two dramas of unusual length, 
and coveringtogether the period intervening between a.d. 
351 and A.i). 363, — that is, from the adolescence to the 
death of Julian the Apostate. 

The subject undoubtedly is a very momentous and 
tragical one. It concerns itself with the effort of a single 
brain to carry into effect a kind of religious Benaissance,, 
in opposition to that form of political Christianity which 
had just found a firm footing in the whole Boman Empire. 
All the great tragedies that art has known are engaged 
with the struggle of a gifted and noble nature against an 
invincible force to which it is wholly antipathetic. From 
Prometheus to Faust, the great tragical figures of poetry 
have rung the changes on this theme. Ibsen has rightly^ 
judged that Julian's struggle against Christ, seen in the 
light of his slight apparent success and final ruin^ collects 
around it ideas fit for a high philosophical tragedy. In 
effect he has hardly hit as high as he aimed ; ^ Kejser og^ 
GalilaBer ' (* Emperor and Galilean ') is a work full of power 
and interest, studded with lofty passages, but not a com- 
plete poem. But before discussing the causes of this 
partial failure, we will briefly analyse the method in which 
one of the finest minds in Europe has chosen to bring before 
us the story itself. 

The first of the two dramas is entitled * Julian's Apos- 


tasy.' The action opens at Constantinople. We are in- 
troduced to one of the picturesque, vivid scenes that Ibsen 
understands so well how to manipulate. It is Easter, and 
outside the church-doors a great throng of citizens is wait- 
ing to see the Emperor Gonstantius II. go in state to mass. 
Before he appears, the bystanders, who have in the begin- 
ning united in beating a few stray pagans, begin to quarrel 
among themselves, Manichseans against Donatists, vdth 
furious abuse. In this way, at the very opening, the rotten 
state of doctrine i^ professing Christendom is laid bare ; 
the chaos of raving schismatics and godless heretics that 
grouped themselves as Christians in the eyes of men like 
Julian is made patent to the reader. Constantius, timid, 
morbid, and moribund, makes his way through the crowd, 
accompanied by his courtiers, and amongst them Julian, 
the friendless kinsman whose parents he has murdered. 
Julian is rather suggested than sketched as a nervous, in- 
tellectual youth, of wavering temperament and almost 
hysterical excitement of brain. A lad of his own age, a 
healthy young Cappadocian whom Julian in earlier years 
has converted to Christianity, comes out of the crowd to 
greet him. They pass away together, and in their dia- 
logue the poet finds occasion to unveil to us the condition 
of Julianas mind and soul. He has become conscious that 
a kind of classic revival is being suggested around him, 
and he is angry at being kept out of the way of it. He 
hopes to secure his own tottering faith by arguing with 
the men who are trying to restore the old philosophy. He 
accidentally meets the most active of these new teachers, 
Libanios, who is starting to found a new school at Athens. 
Julian obtains leave to go to Pergamos, hoping from thence 

* EMPEROR AND GALILEift^.' V /. 61*^v/ > . 

to steal off to Athens, and stand fece to faefe .withi^ dreaded / y , ^ 
Libanios. In this act Julian is still a Ghristiaa, D«t|r^^ * f 
self-consciousness of his assertions of faith reveals the totten^. \ j 
ing basis on which it rests. He is wavering ; circumstances ^ ' ( 
and the age are against him, but as yet his difficulties are 
rather emotional and moral than intellectual. 

The second act reveals Julian in the midst of the new 
school at Athens. He has made a melancholy discovery r 
< The old beauty is no longer beautiful, and the new truth 
is no longer true.' The efforts of the young apostates to 
restore the insouciance of classic times has resulted in mere 
bestial excess ; Aphrodite and lacchus are gods no longer, 
and to Julian the Christ also is a god no longer. A new 
change has come over him. He finds no rest in the scepti- 
cal science ; the new philosophers are ambitious, greedy, 
impure persons, and yet he cannot return to the fold of 
Christianity. The old religion rots in its open grave, and 
the new religion seems to him to be false and cold and 
timid. Libanios disgusts him ; he hears of magical arts 
practised at Ephesus, very much as we now-a-days hear of 
spirit-rapping, and he starts off in the hope of a new reve- 
lation and a new creed. 

The next act is in the highest degree theatrical, but 
there is but little development of purpose. Julian is dis- 
covered at Ephesus, under the influence of a new teacher, 
Maximos the mystic. There is a great magic-scene, in 
which, to the sound of unseen instruments and under the 
flicker of resinous torches, a wild ceremony of incantation 
is gone through. Strange shadows cross the scene; the 
figures of Cain and of Judas rise to the motions of the 
wizard's rod ; the whole affair is prolonged to an extreme 


length, and we do not see clearly the poet's purpose. The 
result, however, is distinct enough. Julian convinces him- 
self that spirits of the upper world have warned him to 
restore the old Crreek Polytheism. At the jnoment of 
wildest cerebral excitement, the Emperor's messengers burst 
in upon him, with the news that Osesar Gallos, his brother, 
has been murdered, that Julian is nominated Caesar, and 
that the Emperor gives him his sister Helena in marriage. 
He reappears in GrauL After the celebrated victory at 
Argentoratum, he returns into Lutetia to Helena. A mes- 
sage fix)m Constantius, accompanied by a present of fruit 
from Italy, reaches the camp at the same time. Helena, who 
has received him with every display of conjugal affection, 
-eats some peaches which have been carefully poisoned, and. 
rushes on to the scene raving. The passage which follows 
is as revolting as powerful. English views of propriety 
scarcely permit me to reproduce the peculiar tenor of the 
revelations she makes in her delirium. Suffice it to say 
that she proves her married life to have been a grossly un- 
faithful one, and that she names as the dearest of her 
lovers a Christian priest, who, by a not unparalleled fiction, 
has persuaded her to regard him as an impersonation of 
the Second Person of the Trinity. In an agony of shame 
and horror, Julian curses the Cralilsean; this uttermost 
indignity was needed to give him the ^power of perfect 
hatred against Christianity. But for the moment there 
is no time for reflection. His victory has won him the 
jealousy of the Emperor, and, threatened with the fate of 
Gallos, he only saves his life by leaping out of the window 
into the throng of soldiers. His appeal to their gratitude 
turns the scale violently in his &vour; he is elected 


Emperor, and marches towiards ConstantiDople. The 
^^ntral idea in tibis act is the monil force which the 
adultery of his Christian wife and the treachery of the 
Christian Emperor exert, in concert with circumstances, in 
•driving Julian into active enmity against their faith. 

The fifth act is occupied with the march through Italy. 
The body of Helena, by reason of her purity, forsooth 1 
works miracles, to Julian's infinite disgust. On the other 
band, he makes retreat impossible by publicly worshipping 
HeUos, and marches victoriously eastward. So closes 
* Julian's Apostasy,' having scarcely flagged anywhere in 
interest and power, and leaving a distinct heroic central 
figure on the mind. 

Eut the second drama, ' Julian the Emperor,' from the 
irery outset, is afflicted with a sense of flatness and deadness 
that the author in vain struggles to throw off. The 
moment we find Julian crowned at Constantinople he ceases 
to be an heroic figure at all. The vain effort to revive the 
Pagan cultus among the masses of the people, the trifling 
■and annoying passages at Antioch, the intellectual mean- 
nesses of Julian, the terrible fiascos at Alexandria and 
Jerusalem, have nothing tragical in them. These long 
.acts of Ibsen's drama are not without importance, but 
their interest is solely historical, or perhaps philosophical ; 
they are utterly prosaic The dramatist has been hampered 
by an overplus of historical and legendary material. No 
i^rifle is spared us, even that slight epigram against 
Apolinarius, ^ApSyvcop sypmp KariypatPy is dragged in, losing 
all force in its Norse translation. We find litle to praise 
-or blame in the first three acts of this long drama, but 
when the fatal Persian march conmiences, the soul of the 


poet revives. His spirit remembers its august abodes, 
and Julian's figure recovers something of heroic dignity. 
It is abnost inconceivable that Ibsen has chosen to dwell on 
the dirty habits of his hero ; he has not spared us the tra- 
ditional inky fingers, or the vermin-haunted beard. High 
talk about Helios and the Phrygian Mother consorts but 
ill with such terrible details. But with the fourth act our 
interest revives ; we forget the importance of the histori- 
cal Julian in the lofby dreamer and great warrior, who 
rises to the height of the occasion in the great eastward 
expedition against Persia. The story is told finely and 
graphically; we see the baffled and dejected Emperor 
pushing on unflinchingly, stung by the songs of the Chris- 
tians, gnawed at heart with the sense of his ill-success 
against their Master, yet through it aU, determined, cahn^ 
and resolute. The condition of his mind is illustrated by a 
dialogue with the mystic Maximos, of which we translate a 
part: — 

Maximos. The vine of the world is grown old, and yet you fancy 
to be able, as before, to o£fer raw grapes to those who thirst after new 

JtUian, Ah ! my Maximos, who thirsts ? Name me one man,, 
outside our intimate circle, who is led by a spiritual enthusiasnu 
Unfortunate that I am, to be bom into such an iron age ! 

Maximos, Blame not the age. Had the age been greater, you 
had been less. The soul of the world is like a rich man who has 
countless sons. If he parts his riches equally to all the sons, all are 
well-to-do, but none rich. But if he leaves i^em all penniless but one, 
and leaves aU to him, then that one stands rich in a circle of poor 

Here we find expressed Julianas hope and his despair. 
Ever pressing like a weight upon his spirit, is the indiffer- 
ence with which the world receives his gift of the new 


mne. It is the most deadly of his reverses ; it is worse a 
thousand times than the army of King Sapores, worse 
even than the untiring zeal of his Christian adversaries. 
These his persecutions have roused into martyr-heroism and 
soldered together with brotherly love, but no passionate 
zeal bums in the dull hearts of the worshippers of Pan 
and Helios. Yet his one hope and consolation is that in 
himself all that is god-like centres, that when all foreign 
opposition is put down, the conscious divinity in himself 
will blaze out, to the discomfiture of the Galibeans, and, 
above all, to the spiritual awakening of the Polytheists. 
Then follows the burning of the ships, and even till the 
middle of the last act, Ibsen contrives to lose again the 
poet in the religious philosopher. But in describing the 
last night before the final battle, his genius suddenly takes 
fire, and he closes the poem in a white-light of imaginative 
sublimity. By a pool of dark water, in the midst of trees, 
Julian stands and consults with the &ithfal Maximos. He 
clings more vehemently than ever to the belief in his own 
divinity. He longs to die to become a god ; it even 
flashes over his brain to slip into the dark pool, and take 
his place at once ' at home in the light of the sun and of 
all the stars.' He is haunted by the unendurable vision of 
the Crucified. Without terror, without remorse, but with 
maddening hatred and horror, he sees wherever he goes 
the great figure robed in white stretching its bleeding 
hands to stop him in his course. In the midst of this 
weird augury the Persian army bursts at midnight on the 
camp. In the darkness the armies meet and thunder 
together ; Julian unarmed leaps on horseback, and plunges 
into the foremost fighting. Through the night his 


unscathed figure is seen in the thickest of the battle, but 
just at daybreak he looks eastward, and there, where other 
men see only the crimson dawn shooting along the cold 
sky, Julian in an ecstasy of horror sees the colossal figure 
of Christ, robed in imperial purple, circled by singing 
women that string their bows with the light of his hair, 
storming down the awakened heavens to crush him into 
nothingness. He turns to plunge again into the battle, 
but his old foster-brother, Agathon, now becomes a furious 
fanatic, draws his bow, and wounds him deeply in the 
side. He falls, crying, ^ Thou hast conquered, GraUlsean I ' 
Now, to give briefly a notion of the causes that have 
militated against the positive success of this work. First 
and foremost, the technical imperfection of its style ; it is 
written from first to last in prose. It is hardly credible 
that Ibsen, a poet who has distinguished himself above all 
recent writers by his skill in adapting lyrical and choral 
measures to dramatic themes, should have deliberately 
abandoned his instrument when he undertook this tragical 
study. It is as if Orpheus should travel hellwards without 
his ivory lyre. Every charm of harmony and plastic art 
was needed to draw the buried figure of Julian out of the 
shameful oblivion of the ages. I earnestly trust that no 
idle words of that garrulous criticism which is only too 
ready to commend the indiscretions of popular poets will 
induce him to appear again in so serious a part without 
his singing-robes. But more important than this is the 
failure to support the heroic dignity of the principal 
character. If Julian does not fill the scene, who can? 
Not Gregory, not Basil, who are mere lay-figures ; not 
Maximos, who wanes and waxes with the waxing and 


waning of his master. But perhaps the ultimate reason of 
failure is to be found in what lies out of the poet's reach — 
the inherent quality of the theme. Julian was not the 
voice of his time ; he was an anachronism. In his brief 
life was exemplified how much can be done by one whole- 
hearted man in stopping the civilisation of a world, only 
to rush on with a fiercer current when he is taken out of 
the way. Julian attempted to restore what had been 
tried in the balances of history and found wanting ; he 
had nothing new to suggest. The gods of iEschylus had 
dwindled down to the nymphs of Longus; the * folding- 
Star of Bethlehem' had glared on them, and they had 
sickened and fled away. To resuscitate their ghosts was 
-the dream of a morbid scholar, ignorant of the hearts of 
men, and blind to the deeper significance of all fhe signs 
of the times. 

I have left myself no space to do more than mention 
the names of Ibsen's historical and national dramas. The 
first, * Gildet paa Solhoug' (* The Banquet at Solhoug ') 
appeared in 1856. This was followed in 1867 by 'FVu 
Inger til Osteraad ' (' Mistress Inger at Osteraad '), a much 
finer poem, which Ibsen has lately revised and almost 
rewritten. It has been Ibsen's fortune in life to rise very 
slowly, like Dryden, into the full exercise of his powers. 
In each successive drama we find a more ample expres- 
sion and greater audacity of thought than in the one 
before it. ^ Hsermasndene paa Helgeland ' (' The Warriors 
at Helgeland') followed, in 1858, with a fresh series of 
scenes from old Norse history, given with wonderful vigour 
.and precision. But Ibsen's masterpiece in this kind of 
writing is ' Kongs-Emnerne ' ('The Pretenders'), which 

F 2 


appeared in 1864. It has for its theme the struggle for 
the vacant throne of Sverre, in the first half of the thir- 
teenth century. This epoch, the most romantic in saga- 
history, has be^i a favourite with the northern poets from 
Ohlenschlager down to Bjomson. In this case, the time 
is chosen which immediately followed the death of King 
Sverre. A troop of claimants clutched at the falling 
crown, but two stood out above the rest, and drew the 
eyes of all men upon them — Hakon Hakonsson and Skule 
BSrdsson. Between these the choice really lay ; Hakon 
was putative son of Sverre, and Skule brother of an 
e£M*lier king. Ibsen's drama begins with a scene in which 
all the heads of the nation, gathered in front of Bergen 
Cathedral, wait for the ordeal of hot iron to decide 
whether Hakon is truly Sverre's son or no. The ordeal 
declares in the affirmative, and Hakon, so assured by 
Heaven, gains perfect confidence in himself and in the 
lustice of his cause, while Skule doubts and hesitates.. 
Thus the key-note of the poet's estimate of each character 
is struck at once: Hakon's strength is his calm self- 
sufficiency, as Skule's weakness is his vacillating self-mis- 
trust. Hakon becomes king, does everything to conciliate 
Skule, makes him duke, marries his daughter, but to no- 
avail. In Skule there is ever the same fiery craving for 
equality with Hakon, for the name and right of king. 
But while Hakon possesses to an eminent degree the good 
fortune and august bearing of an old-world king, Skule, 
as his rival says, has all the superb gifts of intellect and 
courage, is made to stand nearest to the king, but never 
to be king himself.' Hakon's great new idea is to make 
Norway not a kingdom only, but a nation ; to break down 


provincial feuds, and make the people one and indivisible. 
How Skule plagiarises this idea, finds it gives him a 
power over men's hearts that no thought of his own ever 
gave him, how by its help he rises to brief kingship, 
through much blood, and falls at last before the innate 
power of will that makes I{akon king by every right, 
human and divine, can only be roughly indicated here. 
The main characters are drawn with great subtlety and 
finish, and are relieved by the delicate portrait of Queen 
Margaret, wife and daughter of the rivals, and by that of 
Bishop Nicolas, a crafty and witty priest, utterly selfish 
and unprincipled, but devoted to the interests of his 
Church. The dramatic power displayed in this pbem 
quite raises it out of any mere local interest, and gives it 
a claim to be judged at a European tribunal. 


Among the thousands who throng to the Continent for 
refreshment and adventure, how few leave the great 
southward-streaming mass, and seek the desolate grandeur 
of those coimtries which lie north of our own land I Of 
those who do diverge, the great majority are sportsmen,, 
bent on pitiless raids against sahnon and grouse. It is 
strange that the noblest coast scenery in Europe should be 
practically unknown to so ubiquitous a people as we are : 
but so it is : and as long as the thirst for summer cUmates 
rejx^ins in us, the world's winter-garden will be little 
visited. It is the old story : the Northmen yearn after the 
Mbelungen treasure in the South. 

Doubtless, for us who are supposed to shiver in peren- 
nial fog, this tropical idolatry is right and wise. With 
all the passion of Bosicrucian philosophers, we worship 
the unfamiliar Sun-god, and transport ourselves to Italy or 
Egypt to find him. But what if he have a hyperborean 
shrine — a place of fleeting visit in the fer North, where 
for a while he never forsakes the heavens, but in serene 
beauty gathers his cloud-robes hourly about him, and' is 
lord of midnight as of mid-day ? Shall we not seek him 
there, and be rewarded perchance by such manifestations 
of violet and scarlet and dim green, of scathing white 


light, and deepest purple shadow, as his languorous 
votaries of the South knew nothing of? 

With such persuasive hints, I would lead the reader to 
the subject of this chapter. I imagine to most minds the 
Lofoden Islands are associated with little except school- 
book legends of the Maelstrom, and perhaps the unde- 
sirable savour of cod-liver oil. With some they have a 
shadowy suggestion of iron-bound rocks, full of danger 
and horror, repulsive and sterile, and past the limit of 
civilisation. So Uttle has been written about them, and 
that little is so inadequate, that I cannot wonder at the 
indifference to their existence which prevails. With the 
exception of a valuable paper by Mr. Bonney, that 
appeared some time beK^k in the < Alpine Journal,' I know 
of no contribution to geographical literature which treats 
of the group in any detail ; and that paper, both from 
the narrow circulation of the periodical, and also from 
the limited district of which it treats, cannot have had that 
influence which its merit and the subject deserve. 

The Lofoden Islands, which I visited in 1871, are 
an archipelago lying off* the Arctic coast of Norway. 
Although in the same latitude as Central Crreenland, 
Siberia, and Boothia Felix, they enjoy, in common with 
aU the outer coast of Scandinavia, a comparatively mild 
climate ; even in the severest winters their harbours are 
not frozen. The group extends at an acute angle to the 
mainland for about one hundred and forty miles, north- 
east and south-west. In shape they seem on the map like a 
great wedge thrust out into the Atlantic, the point being 
the desolate rock of Bost, the most southerly of the islands ; 
but this wedge is not solid : the centre is occupied by a 


sea-lake^^which communicates by many channels with the 
ocean* As all the islands are mountainous, and of most 
fantastic forms, it can be imagined that this peculiar con- 
formation leads to an endless panorama of singular and 
eccentric views. The largest of the Lofodens is Hindo, 
which forms the base of the wedge ;* north of this runs the 
long oval isle of Ando ; to the west lies Lango, whose rugged 
coast has been torn and fretted by the ocean into the 
most intricate confusion of outline ; the central lake has 
for its centre Ulvo — ^thus the heart of the whole group ; 
and from the south of Hindo run in succession towards 
the south-west, Ost Vaago, Vest Vaago, Flakstado, 
Moskenaeso, Vsero, and little ultimate Bost. All these, 
and several minor satellites also, are inhabited by scat- 
tered families of fishermen. There is no town, scarcely a 
village ; it is but a scanty population so barren and wild 
a land will support. 

But quiet and noiseless as the shores are when the 
traveller sees them in their summer rest, they are busy 
enough, and full of animation, in the months of March 
and April. As soon as the tedious sunless winter has 
passed away, the peculiar Norwegian boats, standing high 
in the water, with prow and stem alike curved upwards, 
begin to crowd into the Lofoden harbours from all parts 
of the vast. Scandinavian coast. It is the never-failing 
harvest of codfish that they seek. Year after year in the 
early spring, usually about February, the waters around 
these islands are darkened with innumerable multitudes 
of cod. They are unaccountably local in these visitations. 
I was assured they had never been known to extend 
&rther south than Vaero, at the extremity of the group. 


The number of boats collected has been estimated at 3,000 ; 
and as each contains on an average five men, the popula- 
tion of the Lofodens in March must be very considerable. ' 
Unfortunately for these * toilers of the sea,' the early spring 
is a season of stormy weather and tumultuous seas : when 
the wind is blowing from the north-west or from the 
.south-west, they are especially exposed to danger ; when in 
the former quarter the sudden gusts down the narrow chan- 
nel are overwhelming, and when in the latter the waves 
Bxe beaten against the violent current always rushing down 
the Vest Fjord from its narrow apex. The centre of the 
busy trade in fish is Henningsvser, a little collection of 
huts perched on the rocks under the precipitous flanks of 
Vaagekallen, the great mountain of Ost Vaago. • I, was 
•assured that in April, when the fish is all brought to shore, 
.and the operations of gutting and cleaning begin, the 
scene on the shore becomes more strange than delightful. 
The disgusting labours which complete the great herring 
rseason in our own Hebrides are utterly outdone by the 
Norse cod-fishers. Men, women, and children cluster 
-on the shore, busily engaged in their filthy work, and 
steeped to the eyes in blood and scales and entrails : at 
last the rocks themselves are slippery with the reeking 
refuse : one can scarcely walk among it ; and such a 
smell arises as it would defy the rest of Europe to equal, 
'The fish is then spread on the rocks to dry, and eventually 
piled in stacks along the shore : in this state it is known 
as klip-fish. Some is split and jGa.stened by pegs to long 
rods, and allowed to flap in the wind till it dries to the 
•consistence of leather : it is then called stock-fish. 
JBefore midsummer, flotillas of the swift boats called 


jagter gather again to the Lofodens, and bear away for 
exportation to Spain and Italy the dried results of the- 
spring labour. Bergen is the great emporium for thi»^ 
trade. The other industry of the islands is the extraction, 
of ' cod-liver oil : ' the livers of all kinds of fishes supply 
this medicine, those of sharks being peculiarly esteemed*^ 
Along the low rocks, and around the houses, we find 
great cauldrons in which these painfully odorous livers- 
are being slowly stewed : a heavy steam arises and the oily 
smell spreads far and wide. But this is not a feature 
peculiar to the Lofodens : all over the coast of Finmark 
the shores reek with this flavour of cod-liver oil. 

It is a matter of regret to me, in my functions of 
apologist for these islands, that truth obliges me to raze 
to the ground with ruthless hand the romantic fabric of 
fable that has surrounded one of them from time im- 
memorial. The Maelstrom, the terrific whirlpool that 

Whirled to death the roaring whale, 

that sucked the largest ships into its monstrous vortex,, 
and thundered so loudly that, as Purchas tells us in his 
veracious ^ Pilgrimage,' the rings on the doors of houses^ 
ten miles off shook at the sound of it — this wonder of the 
world must, alas ! retire to that limbo where the myths 
of old credulity gather, in a motley and fantastic array*. 
There is no such whirlpool as Pontoppidan and Purcha& 
describe : the site of the fabulous Maelstrom is put by 
the former writer between Moskenaeso and the lofty iso- 
lated rock of Mosken. This passage is at the present day 
called Moskostrom, and is one of those narrow straits, so- 
common on the Norwegian coast, where the current of 


water sets with such persistent force in one direction, 
that when the tide or an adverse wind meets it, a great 
agitation of the surface takes place. I have myself seen^ 
on one of the narrow soimds, the tide meet the current 
with such violence as to raise a little hissing wa4 across 
the water, which gave out a loud noise. This was in the 
calmest of weather ; and it is easy to believe that such a 
phenomenon occurring during a storm, or when th^ sea was 
violently disturbed, would cause small boats passing over 
the spot to be in great peril, and might even suddenly 
swamp them. Some such^saster, observed from the shore, 
and exaggerated by the terror of the beholder, doubtless 
gave rise to the prodigious legends of the Maelstrom. 
Such a catastrophe took place, I was infc^rmed, not long 
since, on the Salten Fjord, where there is an eddy more 
deserving the name of whirlpool than any in the Lofodens» 
The legendary importance of the Maelstrom, as a kind 
of wonder of the world, led to the frequent mention of 
the Lofodens by the versifiers of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. But a specially interesting example 
of this kind connects with our islands the name of a 
most extraordinary personage. Bishop Anders Arrebo, 
the father of modem Scandinavian poetry. This great 
genius, Tvhose sensuous and fiery nature contended in vain 
against the social laws of his time, and whose verse remains 
as a monument of broken hopes and wasted powers, was 
bom at iErseskjobing, in Denmark, in 1587, the year that 
Shakspeare came up to London. In 1618 his brilliant 
parts had already been rewarded by the bishopric of 
Throndhjem, in Norway, &om which he was ejected in 1622, 
for too much love of songs and stringed instruments, for 


amorous discourse, and for too copious joviality at wed- 
dings and junketings. The offence seems to have been 
venial, the disgrace was ruinous; and Arrebo returned 
from his brief stay in Norway a broken and dejected 
man. He died in 1637, leaving his magnum opusj his 
didactic epic of the ' Hexaemeron,' still imprinted* It 
saw the light in 1661. Arrebo was a student and disciple 
•of Bonsard and Du Bartas, and his writings partake of 
the imiversal affectation that stains the European poetry 
of his time, but they share also the love of physical 
beauty and the joyous naturalism of that rich age of 
fecundity and liberty. It was during his unlucky stay in 
Norway, that he is believed to have composed the * Hexae- 
meron,' which contains many passages describing Nor- 
wegian scenery. That which deals with the Maelstrom 
may be worth citing : — 

In Loufod far to north on Norway's distant shore^ 

A flood is found that hath no like the wide world o^er^ 

Entitled Moske-flood, from that high Mosker rock 

Bound which in seemly rings the ohsequious waters flock ; 

When this with hasty zeal performs the moon's designs. 

If any man comes near^ the world he straight resigns ; 

In spring its hillows rear like other mountains high, 

But through their sides we see the sun, the earth's bright eye ; 

Then, if the wind should rise against the flood's wild way, 

Two heroes rush and meet in crash of war's array. 

Then tremhle land and house, then doors and windows rattle, 

The earth is fidn to cleave before that monstrous battle ; 

The vast and magic whale dares not its breach essay, , 

But turns in fear to flight, and roaring speeds away.^ 

After more description in the same grandiose st^le, 
Arrebo proceeds to propound a theory of his own, which 
was universally received for at least a century, and which 

> Appendix B. 


made the poet more famous than the best of his verses.. 
It runs thus : — 

Now my belief is this : that imdemeath the sea 

A belt of lofty rocks is forged immutably^ 

Which hath an entrance^ but is solid stone elsewhere, 

And in the centre sends a peak high up to air. 

When now the flood is come, with angry voice it calls, 

And rushes inward like a thousand waterfalls, 

And can no exit find to rule its rugged shock. 

So madly whirls around the lofty central rock, 

And rumbles like a quern when man doth grind therein.^ 

Ten years after the death of Arrebo there was bom at 
North Hero, on the Arctic coast of Norway, a man who 
was destined to give considerable literary prominence to- 
the Lofodens. This was Petter Dass, son of a certain 
Peter Dundas, a Scotchman of Dundee, who came over to 
Norway in 1635. This man, who was an influential 
ecclesiastic in the province of Nordland, composed, between 
1678 and 1692, a long itinerary in verse, somewhat in 
the fashion of Drajrton's ' Polyolbion,' entitled ' Nordland& 
Trompet ' {' The Trumpet of Nordland '). This poem— if 
poem it can be called — ^has enjoyed since the lifetime of 
its author an uninterrupted popularity, which it owes rather 
to its lucid and sensible style, its humour and its nimble 
versification, than to fancy or imagination — of which it is 
devoid. A long canto in it is devoted to the Lofodens, much 
of which unfortunately is taken up with describing, with 
far less beauty of language than Arrebo had employed, 
the Maelstrom. We leaxn, however, that in Dass's time 
the principal Lofoden village stood on Skraaven, a small 
island now almost desolate. From Petter Dass's language, 
it seems to me almost certain that he visited the Lofodens, 

> Appendix S. 


and lodged at Skraaven, and also at a fishing station on 
Vaago, of which he gives a minute and curious descrip- 

Until lately, the topography of the islands was in a 
very unsettled state. The name of the group begins to 
appear on maps of North Europe about the year 1600; 
but for a century and a half there is no sign to show that 
geographers were at all aware of the real position of the 
islands. In Pontoppidan's map the right point on the 
<K)ast is at last fixed, but the oval smooth pieces of land, 
at a great distance &om one another, which adorn the 
coast of Finmark on his chart, are a sadly inaccurate 
realisation of these firmly-compacted and fantastically- 
shaped Lofodens. Only within the last few years has the 
patient survey of the Norwegian Admiralty presented us 
with a minute and exact chart of the coast, and the sea- 
line may now be cpnsidered as accurately laid down. But 
with the interior of the islands it is not so : they consist 
of inaccessible crags, dreary morasses, and impenetrable 
snow-fields. The Lofoden islander prizes the sea-shore, 
for it feeds and enriches him ; and the &inge of rich pas- 
ture which smiles along it, for it preserves his cattle ; but 
the land which lies behind these is an unknown wilder- 
ness to him : if he penetrates it, it is to destroy the in- 
solent eagles that snap up stray lambs, or to seek some 
idle kid that has strayed beyond the flock. Hence it is 
very difficult to find names for the peaks that bristle on 
the horizon or tower above the valleys ; in many cases 
they have no names, in many more these names have 
found their way into no printed maps. It was an object 
with me to fix on the true appellations of these magnifi- 


•«ent mountains ; and I was in many cases enabled, 
through the courtesy of the people and through patient 
•<M)llation of reports, to increase the amount of information 
in this respect. It must be remembered that many of 
the names given were taken down from oral statement^ 
^md that the spelling must in some cases be phonetic. 

The only key to this enchanted palace of the Oceanides 
is, for ordinary travellers, the weekly steamer from 
Trondhjem. This invaluable vessel brings the voyager, after 
a somewhat weary journey through an endless multitude 
of low, slippery, gray islets and tame hills, to the Arctic 
Circle. Another day through scenery which at that point 
becomes highly eccentric and interesting, and in some 
places, grand, brings him to Bodo. This depressing village 
is London and Liverpool in one for the inhabitants of our 
islands : every luxury, from a watch to a piano, from a box 
of Huntley and Palmer's biscuits to a pig, must be brought 
from Bodo. After a long stoppage here, the steamer 
passes on up the coast some tweuty miles, to a strange 
place called Grryto, a labyrinth of slimy rocks just high 
enough to hide the horizon. From this the boat emerges 
through a tortuous and perilous souind, and is at once in 
iihe great Vest Fjord* Forty miles ahead in one unbroken 
line rise the sharp mountains of the Lofodens, and without 
-swerving a point, the good ship glides west-north-west 
into the very centre of the great wall. If the traveller 
visit the islands in summer, and make the passage across 
the Vest Fjord at midnight, as he is almost siure to do, 
the scene, provided the air be clear and dry, will be gor- 
geous. In the weird Arctic midnight, with a calm sea 
shimmering before the bows, and all things clothed in 


that cold yellow lustre, deepening to amber and gold! 
behind the great blue mountains, which is so strange a 
characteristic of the sun at midnight, the scene is Von-- 
derfully impressive. As the steamer glides on, m ^^ing 
for Balstad on the south-west comer of Vest Vaago, 
Flakstado and Moskenseso^j^ia somewhat to our left ; and 
perchance, if the eye is very keen, far away in the same 
direction it may detect the little solitary rock of Vsero, 
and still farther Eost itself, our ulti/ma Thule, The 
southern range of the Lofodens has been compared to a 
vertebrated skeleton, and the simile is vastly well chosen^ 
for the isles taper off to a minute tail, and the channels 
that run between them are so narrow and fit the outline 
so exactly, that they appear like joints. Seen from the 
Vest Fjord, the whole looks like one vast land, undivided. 
Higher and higher on the primrose-coloured sky the dark 
peaks rise as we approach our haven. And now the hills of 
Moskenseso assume definite shape ; the two central points 
rising side by side are Gruldtind and Reinebring, the 
former being the southern one. For an account, the 
only one I know, of Moskenseso I can refer the reader to- 
the ' Beise durch Norwegen ' of Herr C. F. Lessing, pub- 
lished in 1831, at Berlin ; a scarce book, I believe. Herr 
Lessing was an enterprising naturalist, who visited Vaero, 
Moskenaeso, and Vest Vaago, and wrote an entertaining 
chapter about them in his excellent little book. The 
mountains of Moskenaeso are not very lofty, but the 
island is inaccessible, the shores being so steep and the 
outline so indented by the sea, that it is necessary to 
take a boat from haven to haven : one cannot pass by 
land. The highest mountain of Flakstado, the precipitous 



Napstind, is on the northern extremity of that island, and 
hidden from us by the projecting promontories of Vaago ; 
but the lofty hills very slightly to our left belong to this 
island*' Even while we speak, we glide between half- 
submerged rocks and rounded islets crowded with sea- 
birds into the bay of Balstad, ^nd the Lofodens are around 
us ! The hour is that one of glamour inj^these Arctic sum- 
mers when the day is but a few hours old, and the golden 
sheen of midnight has given way to the strong chiaroscuro 
of sunrise. Above our heads rises the mountain Skottind^ 
and we perceive how strange is the land we have arrived 
in; no longer the rounded hills of the mainland, no more 
any conventional mountain forms and shapes in any wise 
familiar. Skottind soars into the clouds one vast cliff of 
dark rock split across now and then with a sharp crevasse, 
above which rises another wall of cliff, and so on to the 
sunmiit, where thin spires and sharp pinnacles, clear-cut 
against the sky, complete the mighty peak. This is cha^ 
racteristic of all the mountains of this southern and grandr 
est range: especially unique and perplexing is the thin 
look of the extreme smnmit; apparently the ridge is as 
sharp and narrow as a notched razor ; no signs of the reced- 
ing of the edge are to be seen. All these points are inacces- 
sible on one side; from the interior it might be possible to 
reach the top of some of them, and sublime would be the 
view so gained. At present, this chilly July morning, Skot- 
tind rises a wall of darkest indigo blue between the sun 
and our faces; about its horns the heavy tissue of clouds is 
smitten and shot through with brilliant white light of sun- 
rise, and the fainter wireaths of vapour, delicately tinged 
with rose-colour and orange, pause before they rise and flee 




away over the awakened heavens. As for Balstad itself, it 
is a cluster of wooden houses painted gray and green, and 
some deeply stained with red ochre, scattered about on a 
fidghtfuUy rugged platform of rocks, so uneven that I can- 
not think a square yard of earth or tolerably flat rock 
could be found anywhere. Some of the houses are bmlt on 
the outlying islets, treacherous low reefi on which the gray 
sea creeps and shows his ominous white teeth Such 
places seem to promise certain destruction in the first 
storm, but the cottages survive, and the bay certainly is 
very sheltered. 

Leaving Balstad, the steamer coasts along the shores 
of Vest Yaago. The twin peaks that appeared from the 
middle of Vest Fjord as the highest land in this island 
lie on the northern coast, and are now far out of sight; 
they are known under the collective name of Hinunelstinder 
— a poetic and suggestive title. It may be well to point 
out that ^ tind ' is equivalent to needle, spitz, and is de- 
scriptive of the pinnacle-character of the mountain. Him- 
melstind was ascended by Herr Lessing, who crossed over 
to it from Buxnses, and bravely ascended^ in spite of pouring 
rain and the derisive remarks of the natives : his account 
of the adventure is highly humorous. We pursue our 
voyage through an infinite multitude of sterile rocks and 
under fine stormy crags till we reach the mouth of the 
broad Crimsostrom, the gulf that divides us from Ost Vaago. 
Here the colossal precipices of Vaagekallen come into 
sight, the sublimest, though not the loftiest, of all the 
Lofoden mountains. This stupendous mass occupies the 
south-west extremity of Ost Yaago, and is almost always 
shrouded in cloud ; the snow lies in patches about its ravines. 

SVOLV^aER. 83 

l)ut most of its summit is too sheer for snow to rest on or any 
herb to grow. Vaagekallen is the beacon towards which the 
fisher, laden with finny spoils^ wearily steers at fall of day ; 
for under its spurs, on a group of islets in the sound, is 
built the village of Henningsvaer, the most important of 
aU fishing stations, and. a flourishing little place. It has a 
lighthouse also, the largest on this coast. A little farther 
on we pass the quaint church of Vaagen — Kirkevaag, as 
the inhabitants call it — ^built, like all Northern churches, 
of wood, and painted dark brown. Here we find the only 
trace of historic importance that Lofoden can boast, I 
believe; for it was from Kirkevaag that that enthusiast 
Hans Egede, led by devoted love for the souls of men, 
went in 1721 to preach the gospel to the desolate 
savages of Greenland. We pass on through crowds of 
eider-ducks and terns and cormorants to Svolv8Br,a promi- 
nent station on Ost Vaag(i. The entrance to this harbour 
is through a maze of black, cruel rocks, round which 
the sea tumbles and glides ominously; at last, after an 
intricate half-hour of steering, through passages where 
no path seemed possible, a large village is reached, built 
like a lacustrine town on piles above the water. Svolvaer is 
iihrown about on a heap of islets and promontories, here a 


house, and there a house, on a site even wilder than that 
•of Balstad. The mountain rising sheer behind it is the 
Svolvaer Fjeld. Tolerable accommodation may be got at 
this place, though the house of entertainment is, according 
to Mr. Bonney, very inconveniently situated. It had been 
decided by a commission, shortly before I arrived, that if 
^ver it should be thought desirable to found a town on the 
Lofodens, this should be the site of it. Leaving Svolvaer, 

o 2 


the Ostnaes Fjord, gloomy, narrow, and terrible as that gate* 
which Dante saw in Hell, looms on our left; enormous 
mountains hem it in. On the west side, eminent above the^ 
rest, is a peak called, I believe, the Jom&utind; it would 
be a dismal thing to have to live ou the shores of this 
sombre and sinister water-glen. 

But now, straight before us, we perceive three islands,, 
not belonging to the general range, but standing at right 
angles to it, running far out in the Vest Fjord; and be- 
tween them, we see glimpses of the mainland, now not very 
distant. These islands are circular, and not indented by 
the sea; but a shelf of rock, covered with rough pasturage,, 
runs round each of them, and then a mountain soars sud-^ 
denly into the skies. Stor Molla, one of the largest and 
nearest to Ost Vaago, is a double peak of quite exceptional 
grandiBur ; and Lille Molla and Skraaven, though less lofty,, 
are scarcely tamer in their forms. It is difficult to form 
a due conception of this peculiar masculine scenery; 
there is nothing pretty or charming about it, but it is 
extremely impressive. Compared with the rest of Norwe- 
gian sea-scenery, with that south of the Arctic Circle- 
especially, it differs from it as an American backwoodsman 
differs from a London counter-jumper. I would here pro- 
test a little, in wonder, at the compliments paid to the^ 
coast scenery of South and Central Norway: saving that 
terrible sound which runs between Bremangerland and the 
main, under the awful cliffs of Homelen, there is no ocean 
landscape from Torghatten to the Naze to call forth the 
slightest enthusiasm. There is much finer country in the 
Hebrides. To return to Lille Molla. This island and its 
congeners are all inhabited, and not two hours' sail from. 


Svolvaer ; on Stor MoUa accommodation of some sort might 
probably be foimd, and I think this little group would be 
^eO. worth investigation. They have just that amount of 
■geographical independence which often suffices to produce 
a diflference in flora and fauna. Between the two MoUas we 
fiteam, noticing the rough sseters on the shores, the rows 
of stockfish flapping in the wind, and the cauldrons of stew- 
ing livers, faintly odorous from the steamer's deck. The 
Okellesund (for so the northern passage between Stor 
Molla and Vaago appears to be called) is too narrow to 
admit the steamer, but turning north as we leave the 
Moldoren, we enter the celebrated Baftsund. 

The Baftsund, which has won the hearty admiration of 
-every traveller who has seen it, is a narrow channel, fifteen 
miles long, running north-east between Vaagp and Hindo. 
It is of various width, narrowest towards the north ; on each 
side mountains of the most vigorous and eccentric forms 
rise in precipices and lose themselves in pinnacles and 
isharp edges that cut the clouds. As this is the one part 
of the Lofodens that has been somewhat minutely described, 
I need not linger in painting it. A few of the peaks, how- 
ever, I can name. All the loftiest and boldest are on the 
Vaago side. Perhaps the strangest is listind, a gigantic 
mass with a tower-like cairn on the summit ; Mahomet's 
Tomb we nicknamed it, till a native obligingly gave its 
true title. This is at the middle of the sound, where an 
island breaks the current, and several small ^ords push 
into the land. Another very noble cluster of aiguilles is 
Buttind, on Vaago, but much to the south of listind. 
These peaks are mostly wreathed with foamy cloud, that 
on a fine day daintily rises and lays bare their dark beautv, 


and as airily closes round them again. About the summits 
the rifts and joints are full of snow all the summer, and 
from every bed, leaping over rocks and sliding down the 
smooth slabs of granite, a narrow line of water, white a& 
the parent snow, falls in a long cataract to the sea. On 
the Hindo side, Kongstind, which lies north-east of listind,. 
is the most striking mass. On both sides near the water 
the ground is covered with deep grass, of a bright green 
coloul", and flowers bloom in beautiful abundance. In one^ 
place the harebells were so thick on the hill-side that they 
gleamed, an azure patch, half a mile away. Flocks of 
sheep and goats luxuriate in this lush herbage ; here and 
there ferns are in the ascendancy, Polypodvum pJdego- 
pteria and dryopteris being everywhere abundant. 

Leaving the Raftsund, we suddenly enter that sea-lake* 
which, as I have said, holds the centre of the archipelago 
We are now at the heart of the weird land, and the sight 
before us is one of the loveliest that can be conceived.. 
The bristling character of the southern coast gives place- 
to a calmer, more placid scenery. Here there are na 
subtle rocks, no frightful reefs ; all is simple, serene, and 
stately. I cannot do better than give my remembrance 
of the first time I saw this scene, on a calm sunlit moming^ 
in July. Leaving the Baftsund, we bore due north. As 
we steamed through quiet shimmering water gentiy down 
on Ulvo, the ghostly mountains lay behind us, a semi*^ 
circle of purple shadow ; down their sides the clear snow- 
patches, muffling the vast crevasses, shone, dead-white, or 
stretched in glaciers almost to the water's edge- In sweet 
contrast to their grandeur, the sunny slopes of Ulvo rose 
before us, with the little kirk of Hassel nestling in a bright 


green valley ; in its heart one violet peak rose, hiding its 
dim head in the mystery of the vaporous air above. The 
sea had all the silence and the restfulness of dreamland : 
not a ripple broke the sheeny floor, save where a flock of 
ducklings followed in a fluttering arc the mother-bird, or 
where the cormorant hurled himself on some quivering fish. 
We drifted round the eastern promontory of the lovely isle ; 
peak by peak the pleasant hills of Lango gathered on our 
right, while to the left of us, and ever growing dimmer in 
the distance, the prodigious aiguilles of Vaago, in their 
clear majestic colour, soared unapproachable above the 
lower foreground of Ulvo. Behind us now was Hindo, less 
grand perhaps than Vaago, but displaying two central 
mountains of inmiense height, Fisketind and Mosadlen, 
the latter reported to attain a greater elevation than any 
in the group. 

Lango lies very close on the right when we enter the 
Borosund and make for StokmarknaBS. Boro itself lies 
in the strait between Ulvo and Lango. The pretty handet 
on its shores was the centre of the investigations of Dr. 
George Bema and his friends, as related by Herr Carl Vogt 
in his interesting ' Nordfahrt.' On the northern shore of 
Ulvo, at the mouth of a small valley, lies the large village 
of Stokmarknses. It is almost a town, containing perhaps 
one hundred and twenty houses; it may be the most 
populous place in the Lofodens, though I am told that the 
discovery of coal in Ando has greatly increased the village- 
port of Dvergberg in that island. Stokmarknses looks very 
pretty from the sea, with its clean painted houses of deal 
wood, and bright tiled roofs. Ulvo is the richest, most 
fertile, and most populous of the islands. It stands in the sea 


Uke a hat, having a central mountain mass, and a broad rink 
of very flat and fertile land. To compare great things with 
mean, it is in shape extremely like that unpleasant island, 
Lunga, in the Hebrides, facetiously known as the Dutch- 
man's Hat. Ulvo culminates in a single peak, by name 
Sseterheid, which rises close behind Stokmarknses. This 
mountain, whose sides are principaUy covered by a thick 
jungle of birch underwood, slopes gradually away into a 
rocky ridge running across the island, and falls in steep 
precipitous cliffs to the flat lands that form the external rim. 
These flats were originally, I suppose, morasses, but have 
been in great part reclaimed, though on the eastern side of 
Sseterheid there are stiU great bogs, and two little tarns, full 
of trout. At Stokmarknses (which is quite a place of impor- 
tance, and had in the summer of 1871 a bazaar for the sick 
and wounded French) good accommodation can be had ; 
Herr Halls, the landhandler, being in a condition to make 
visitors very comfortable at a moderate charge, and this is a 
good station to leave the steamer at. Herr Halls also sup- 
plies karjols, and a very pleasant excursion can be made 
on one of those arm-chairs-on-wheels to the south of the 
island. There is one road in Ulvo, running from Stok- 
marknsBS round the eastern coast to Melbo, a gaard or 
farmstead opposite Vaago. It is a very good road, more 
like a carriage-drive through a gentleman's park than a 
public thoroughfare. It is about ten miles from Stok- 
marknses to Melbo. The road passes Hassel Church, at 
the eastern extremity of the^ island, an odd octagonal 
building of wood, painted red, with a high conical roof. 
Norwegian churches have an excessively undignified look ; 
some are Uke pigeon-houses, some like pocket-telescopes. 

ULy5. 89 

Hassel reminded me irresistibly of a mustard-pot. Yet it 
is a structure of high ecclesiastical dignity, for not only 
^1 Ulvo, l5ut parts of Lango and Hindo, and the whole 
north of Vaago, depend upon it for pastoral care. It is a 
very pretty sight on a summer Sunday morning to see the 
boats gathering from all parts to it, full of the simple, 
-devout people in their holiday dress. 

To judge by the number of red-shank and curlew that 
wheel above the traveller, or flutter wailing before him, 
the bogs beside the road must teem with wild-fowl. The 
north side of the island is thickly dotted with farms and 
fishermen's huts, but after leaving Hassel and the adjoin- 
ing hamlet of Steilo these diminish ih number, till at 
JMelbo the road itself disappears, and the flat land becomes 
:a wild peat bog, with only a few huts near the sea. Melbo 
is simply a larfi:e farm, owned by Fru Coldevin, a lady who 
opens Z houfe in the summer for the accomiodatfon of 
sportsmen and those few travellers that wander to this far 
•end of the earth. A cluster of islets off the coast here is 
a part of her property. She preserves these rocks for the 
-sea-birds, which flock to them in extraordinary numbers. 
Little kennels of turf and stone are built to shelter the 
nests, and here the eider ducks strip themselves of their 
>€xquisite down for the sake of their offspring, and in due 
time see it appropriated by Fru Coldevin. 

The lovely range of snowy points in Vaago is seen 
•on a fine day bewitchingly from Melbo. Mr* Bonney 
who unhappily seems to have had execrable weather in the 
Lofodens, sighed pathetically at these peaks from Melbo. 
He gives Alpine names to the two highest, supposing 
4ipparently that they were nameless in the native tongue ; 


they are not so neglected, however. The foremost moun— 
tain, which from UIfo seems the highest, is Higraven,. 
^ the tomb or monument of the wild beast ; ' and the other^. 
really the loftiest peak in Yaago, is Blaamanden. My 
friend Mr. W. S. Green accomplished in 1871 the ascent 
of Higraven, and kindly permits me to transcribe from his 
journal the story of his adventure. Mr. Green's famiK- 
arity with Swiss Alpine scenery would tend to make him 
a severe, critic of mountain effects, and that he can write 
thus enthusiastically of the Lofodens is no small proof of 
their wonderful beauty. 

Mr. Green started from Melbo on a fine July morning,, 
at 10 A.H ; the clouds, taage, masses of opaque white 
fleece on the sides of all the peaks, promised ill for the 
expedition ; but soon these rolled away, and left the 
snowy rocks clear-cut against an azure sun-lit sky. ' The 
face of the sea was as smooth as glass, and over it rose the- 
long line of snow-capped peaks, softening from rugged 
purple crags to emerald-green slopes as they approached 
the sea, looking about a mile off, though in hjct the 
nearest of them was seven. I had determined beforehand 
which peak I should climb : it seemed to be the highest 
in Ost Vaago and lay at the head of -the Stover Fjord- 
My boatmen were pleasant fellows, and as I lay luxuriously 
in the stem, steering, I conversed with them in bad 
Norse ; my questions had reference principally to the sea- 
birds. A pretty little sort of guillemot with red legs they 
call teathe ; this bird is very common : another common, 
bird, the hen-eider I think, is called ae. We passed many 
of these with a train of yoimg ones after them. As the 
boat skinmied along we passed many beautifril jelly-fish t 


one sort of boli/na about the size of a goose-egg wa* 
particularly common. At last, after winding through 
many islets, we enter the Stover Fjord : the only thing I 
can compare it to is the Bay of Uri, which I think it 
surpasses in beauty, and the Aiguille de Dru is rivalled 
by these snow-seamed pinnacles. But it was 12 o'clock, 
and I jumped ashore at a sort of elbow where the §ord 
forks. I put some provisions into my pocket ; then, with 
my sketching materials slung upon my back and my 
alpen-stock in my hand, I commenced the ascent. I first 
scrambled over boulders covered with fern, bushes, and 
wild flowers ; these soon became very steep, and slinging 
myself up hand over hand through the bushes was very 
warm work. I took oflF my coat and hung it in the strap 
on my back ; after a sharp climb over steep rocks I got 
on to a slope of snow that filled the gorge. In about an 
hour and a half I reached a col that I had aimed at all 
through. I could see the boat, a speck below, so I jodeled 
at the top of my voice, and soon heard a faint answer. 
The place I had come up was very steep, and the thought 
of descending it again not very pleasant. I took the pre- 
caution, however, of fixing bits of white paper on the 
rocks and bushes where I had met with difficulty, to serve 
as guides in my descent. There wjis a glorious view from 
where I stood, and the day was peifection. After another 
hour of steep climbing I reached a cornice of snow, but 
was able to turn off to the right and cross a level 
plateau of snow, from the other side of which rose up my 
peak. I now encountered very steep snow-slopes and 
rocks, and just before the snow rounded off into the dom, 
forming a siimmit, it became so hard that my feet could 


get no hold. I had to resort to step-cutting: about a 
dozen steps sufficed to land me on the dom; an easy 
incline then led to the summit, on which I stood at 4.30 
P.M. I wished for an aneroid ; but from the time I took 
to ascend, and from other circumstances, I should think 
the height to be over 4,000, and possibly 5,000 feet. 
Now for the view. I have yet to see the Alpine view that 
surpasses this in its extreme beauty : the mountain chain 
of the mainland was in sight for, I suppose, a hundred 
miles ; then came the Vest Fjord, studded with islands. 
The mountains around me were of the wildest and most 
fantastic form, not drawn out in a long chain, but grouped 
together, and embosoming lovely little tarns and lakes. 
The inner arm of the Stover Fjord, over which I seemed 
to hang, was of a deep dark blue, except where it became 
shallow, where it was of a bright pea-green. This latter 
colour may be accounted for by the fact that the rocks 
below low-water mark are white, with pure white nulli- 
pore and halani ; there is no iaTninaria or sea-weed of 
any sort in these narrow fjords, except Fmcus vesiculosuSj 
and this grows only between tide-marks. Looking away 
to the north came Ulvo, with its fringe of islets ; then 
Lango, with its sea of peaks : these do not appear, how- 
ever, to be so high or rugged as the peaks of Hindo, that 
<5ome next to the sight. Here Mosadlen stands up with 
his lovely crest of snow ; far away, in an opposite direction, 
lies Vest Vaago, where I remarked another peak that 
seemed to be of a respectable height. The view was per- 
fection : one drop of bitterness was in my cup, and that 
was that a neighbouring peak was evidently higher than 
the one I had climbed. It was connected with my peak 


by a very sharp rock arr&te just below which was a flattisb 
plateau of crevassed nSvS : it was too far to think of try- 
ing it, and it looked very difficult ; an attempt upon it 
would be more likely to succeed if made from the south- 
east. Having made a sketch and bmlt a cairn of stones, 
I looked about for the easiest way to descend, and found 
that a long slope of snow led into a valley connected with 
the north arm of the §ord ; this I determined to try. I 
climbed down the steps I had cut, with my face to the 
snow ; then sitting down and steering with my alpen- 
stock, I made the finest glissade I ever enjoyed. As I 
neared the bottom it was necessary to go lightly, as a 
torrent was roaripg along under the snow. I soon had to 
take to the moraine, which was of a most trying character. 
I now got down to a charming little lake, in which islands 
of snow floated, and in which the peaks were mirrored to 
their summits. Skirting along this, and descending by 
the edge of a stream that led out of it, I came to another 
lovely tarn, on which were a couple of water-fowl. From 
this I clambered down through bushes at the side of a 
waterfall, and arrived on the strand of the fjord all safe. 
At 6.30 P.M. I was sitting in the boat, and in two hours- 
arrived in Melbo.' 

The superior peak that dashed Mr. Green's happiness 
was Blaamanden, which must now be considered the 
highest point out of Hindo, Vaagekallen is certainly 
lower even than Higraven. 

Of the northern islands of the Lofoden group space 
fiEiils me to speak much ; they are but little known. Lango 
was skirted by the German expedition whose story is ' erzahlt 
yon Carl Vogt,' but his notes on this part of the tour are 


unfortunately very scanty. The northern peninsula would 
seem to be the finest part of Lango. I hear of a splendid 
mountain, Klotind, which fills this tongue of land with its 
spurs. Ando, the most northerly of the archipelago, is the 
tamest of all : the interior of it has been surveyed with 
isuch minute care, that it is impossible to suppose its moun- 
tains can be very rugged. For the sake of anyone desirous 
of visiting Ando,' I may remark that a little steamer has 
been started in connection with the large boat which 
meets the latter at Harstadhavn in Hindo, skirts the north 
of that island, calls at Dvergberg and Andenses in Ando, 
and after a visit to the north of Senjen, returns the same 
way to Harstad. The same steamer calls off the coast of 
(jh7to, a mountainous Lofoden, whose vast central peak of 
Fussen is seen in the distance from the Vaags Fjord. 

In ordinary years the snow disappears from the low 
ground in these islands before May, and the rapid smnmer 
briiigs their scanty harvest soon to perfection. A few 
years ago, however, the snow lay on the cultivated lands 
till June, and a famine ensued. These poor people live a 
precarious life, exposed to the attacks of a singularly 
peevish climate. A whim of the cod-fish, a hurricane 
in the April sky, or a cold spring, is sufficient to plunge them 
into distress and poverty. Yet for all this they are an 
honest and well-to-do population ; for, being thrifty and 
laborious, they guard with much foresight against the 
severities of nature. In winter the aurora scintillates 
over their solemn mountains, and illuminates the snows 
and wan gray sea; they sit at their cottage-doors and 
spin by the gleam of it ; in summer the sun never sets, 
.and they have the advantage of endless light to husband 


their hardly-won crops. Bemote as they are, too, they can 
all read and write : it is strange to find how much intelli- 
gent interest they take in the struggles of great peoples 
who never heard of Lofoden. It is a fact, too, not over- 
flattering to our boasted civilisation, that the education of 
<;hildren in the hamlets of this remote cluster of islands in 
the Polar Sea is higher than that of towns within a small 
distance of our capital-city ; ay, higher even, proportionally, 
than that of London itself. 

I would fain linger over the delicious memories that 
the name of these wild islands brings with it ; would &in 
take the reader to the pine-covered slopes of Sandtorv, 
the brilliant meadow of little Kjoen, so refreshing in this 
savage land ; to the Tjeldaesund, as I saw it on a certain 
midnight, when the lustrous sun-light lay in irregular 
golden bars^ across the blue spectral mountains, and tinged 
the snow peaks daintily with rose-red. But space is want- 
ing ; and being forced to choose, I will wind up with a 
faint description of the last sight I had of the islands, on a 
•calm sunny night in summer. 

All day we had been winding among the tortuous 
tributaries of the Ofoten Fj^^^j ^^^ ^ evening drew on 
clipped down to Trano, a station on the mainland side of 
the Vest Fjord, near the head of that gulf. It had been a 
cloudless day of excessive heat, and the comparative cool- 
ness of night was refreshing; the light, too, ceased to be 
:garisb, but flooded all the air with mellow lustre. From 
Trano we saw the Lofodens rising all along the northern 
sky, a gigantic wall of irregular jagged peaks, pale blue 
on an horizon of gold fire. The surface of the Qord \gas 
4Blightl7 broken into little tossing waves, that, murmuring 


fEuntly, were the only audible things that broke the sweet 
silence ; the edge of the ripple shone with the colour of 
burnished bronze, reUeyed by the cool neutral gray of the 
sea-hollows. From Trano we slipped across the Qord 
almost due west to the mouth of the Baftsund. The sun 
lay like a great harvest-moon, shedding its cold yellow 
light down on us from over Hindo, till, as we glided gra- 
dually more under the sh^ow of the islands, he disappeared 
behind the mountains : at 11.30 p.m. we lost him thus, but 
a long while after a ravine in Hindo of more than conunon 
depth again revealed him, and a portion of his disk shone 
for a minute like a luminous point or burning star on 
the side of a peak. About midnight we came abreast of 
Aarstenen, and before us rose the double peak of Lille 
Molla, of a bkick-blue colour, very solemn and grand; 
Skraaven was behind, and both were swathed lightly in 
wreaths and fox-tails of rose-tinged mist. There was no- 
lustre on the waters here ; the entrance 4^0 the sound wa& 
unbroken by any wave or ripple, imillumined by any b'ght 
of sunset or sunrise, but a sombre reflex of the unstained 
blue heaven above. As we glided, in the same strange utter 
noiselessness of the hour when evening and morning meet, 
up the Saftsund itself, inclosed by the vast slopes of Hinda 
and the keen aiguilles of Vaago, the glory and beauty of 
the scene rose to a pitch so high that the spirit was op- 
pressed and overawed by it, and the eyes could scarcely 
fulfil their function. Ahead of the vessel the narrow 
vista of glassy water was a blaze of purple and golden 
colour, arranged in a faultless harmony of tone that wa» 
like music or lyrical verse in its direct appeal to the emo- 
tions. At each side the §ord reflected each elbow, each 


edge, each cataract, and even the flowers and herbs of the 
base, with a precision so absolute that it was hard to tell 
where mountain ended and sea began. The centre of the 
sound, where it spreads into several small arms, was the 
climax of loveliness; for here the harmonious vista was 
broadened and deepened, and here rose listind towering 
into the unclouded heavens, and showing by the rays of 
golden splendour that lit up its topmost snows, that it 
could see the sun, whose magical fingers, working unseen 
of us, had woven for the world this tissue of variegated 






At the opening of the present century the monarchy of 
Sweden lay defenceless and almost moribund, supported 
in European opinion solely by the memory of its vagt pres- 
tige. The dynasty of Wasa, which had held the crown for 
nearly two centuries, and from the hands of whose successive 
kings Sweden had received such matchless glory and such a 
world of sorrows, was approaching its last degeneracy in the 
person of Gxistavus IV., a prim and melancholy bigot, 
touched with madness, and retaining of the iron will and 
clear intelligence of his ancestors nothing but a silly 
obstinacy and the ingenuity of a wizard maker of prophetic 
almanacks. The old order was passing- away, throughout 
Europe, and the new had scarcely taken fixed form or entity. 
G-eographically, Sweden had been dwindling throughout the 
eighteenth century, drying up, as it were, along the south 
shores of the Baltic : Gourland was lost, Estbonia lost, 
even Pomerania was assailed. Finland, the most precious, 
the most extensive outland province, forming more than 
a fourth of the entire dominion, remained untouched, or 
almost untouched. There had not been wanting signs of 
Bussian ambition working on the vast open frontier by 
Lake Ladoga. Already, before the century was half out, 
the great new power of Eastern Europe had determined that 
its capital would never be secure until the Bussian supre- 
macy was acknowledged everywhere east of the Gulf of 


Bothnia. The Empress Elizabeth, while seizing the 
•eastern counties of the province, had dangled before Fin- 
land the tempting hope of national independence under a 
protectorate of Bussia. In 1788 the malcontent nobles, 
met at Anjala, offered to another great woman, to the 
Empress Catherine II., the dictatorship of Finland ; but 
their treason infuriated the middle and lower classes, and 
when the Bussian army commenced its invasion in 1789, it 
was met by a resistance as determined as it was unexpected. 
It was in this campaign that modem Finland first expressed 
itself; the war culminated in the battle of Porrasalmi, a 
^glorious victory for the Finns, in which Adlercreutz and 
Dobeln, afterwards so famous as generals, won their spurs. 
The peace of Warala, in 1790, left Finland full of the 
enthusiasm of military success, and lo])al as a dependency 
-of Sweden. But the murder of Ghistavus III., at the Opera 
House of Stockholm, in 1792, brought the luckless Grus- 
tavus IV. to the throne, and reduced the nation to despair. 
One Qf the first events of the new reign was the loss of 
Pomerania. Finland now became the most precious, as it 
was the last, jewel in the Swedish crown ; and to comfort 
his excellent Finnish subjects, and to strengthen their 
liearts in the fear of *Punaparte,' as the Finns called 
Napoleon, the dreary monarch made a solemn tour through 
the province in 1802. Thus security reigned for a little 
while on both sides of the Gulf of Bothnia, Europe in the 
meantime writhing, convulsed by a conjunction of wars 
that threatened to conclude in chaos. 

At this eventful moment the greatest poet that has 
•ever used the Swedish tongue saw the light in a sea- 
port of Finland. Johan Ludvig Buneberg was bom 

u 2 


February 5, 1804, at Jakobsstad, a little town half-way 
up the Ghilf of Bothnia. He was the son of a merchant 
captain, and the eldest of six children. The straitened 
means of the parents induced them to accept the offer of 
the father's brother, a very well-to-do man in UleSborg, 
who offered to adopt Johan Ludvig. Thither, therefore, 
fer away north, to the extreme town of the country, the 
child went. In UleSborg he must have seen the birth- 
place of the greatest then-living poet of Finland, Franz^n, 
in whose steps he was afterwards to tread. We know little 
of his boyhood, except that at due age he was sent to the^ 
college at Wasa, and that he was so poor that he could 
only continue his studies there by serving as tutor to the 
younger and richer boys. But in the meantime changes 
of vast importance had occurred in the constitution of his 
country, changes to which he was destined in after life to- 
give immortality by his art. In 1807, Napoleon had met 
Alexander I. at Tilsit, and had offered Finland to the^ 
Bussian monarch in exchange for help against England.. 
By one of those coincidences which give history the air of 
a well-planned sensational drama, the autocrat who now Ues 
under a mass of Finnish porphyry in his Parisian tomb set 
out on the last great perilous enterprise which led him to 
his doom by the sacrifice of Finland to Bussian ambition.. 
In February 1808, three Bussian armies broke into Fin- 
land. Like the troops who obeyed the smnmons fix>m 
Anjala in 1788, these armies were grievously disappointed 
to find the firuit not ripe or ready to drop into their hand^ 
Everywhere the Swedish sentiment was decided ; the Finns 
rose in arms, 19,000 strong, and collected around th& 
fortress of Tavasthus. But their resistance was, at first,. 


not very successful. The south of the province was over- 
powered. Sveaborg, an impregnable maritime citadel, the 
Gibraltar of the north, built by Augustin Ehrensvard, in 
1749, on seven islets at the entrance of the harbour of 
Uelsingfors, was shamefuUy and treasonably surrendered. 
In May the Bussians marched into Helsingfors. Mean- 
while the Finlanders had a diflFerent fortune in the north, 
where, under two noble generals, Adlercreutz and Dobeln, 
they rallied their forces to defend the sea-coast and the 
Bothnia districts. On April 18, across the frozen river 
Siikajoki, the Swedes and Finlanders won their first 
victory, and defeated the Bussians again, nine days later, 
at Bevolax. A little later, Dobeln contrived to drive the 
enemy back from the walls of Nykarleby, and to win a 
signal victory at Lappo. But on September 14, 1808, 
Adlercreutz lost all but honour at the terrible battle of 
Oravais, the most fiercely contested and the decisive en- 
gagement of the campaign. Finland was lost, and by the 
Peace of Fredrikshamn, on September 17, 1809, it was 
finally annexed, as a grand duchy, to the dominions of 

Such were the events which agitated the childhood of 
Bimeberg. In after life he clearly remembered seeing 
Dobeln and Kulneflf, the Swedish general with the black 
band round his forehead that concealed the wound in the 
left temple which he bore away after the battle of Porro- 
JBalmi, the Bussian general with his bright eyes and long 
brown beard. He saw them in the streets of Jakobsstad, 
when he was four years old, and this memory gave a par- 
ticular colouring to his pictures of the war. Stories were 
repeated in his presence of the chivalric regard which each 


opponent had for the other — how Knkieff forbade hi» 
Cossacks to fire upon Dobeln, and how Dobehi's soldiers- 
respected the person of Kulneff; and when he came to 
write ' Fanrik StSls Sagner/ there was to be found among' 
the portraits of Mends and patriots a noble tribute to the 
generous Bussian leader also. It is noticeable that in the 
native literature of Finland, since the annexation, there is 
none of the tone of smothered insurrection which marks 
the atmosphere of Poland^ or even the dull discontent of 
Esthonia and Courland. The Swedish Lutherans of Finland 
have been by far the best treated of all the dependants of 
the empire. No attempt has been made to force Bussian 
upon them as their official language, no check has been 
put on the firee development of the literature, even when^ as 
in the case of Bunebei^^ that development has taken the 
form of deepening and extending the patriotic sentiment.. 
The fact is, that under the easy Bussian yoke Finland is- 
almost as free as she was under the Wasas, and has actually^ 
attained that intellectual and spiritual independence which 
Porthan, her great citizen of the eighteenth century,, 
dreamed for her — an independence which consists in liberty 
of thought, the spread of an education congenial to tho 
nature of the people^ and a free development of science and 
'belles lettres.' 

In the autumn of 1822, Buneberg, then in his nine- 
teenth year, left Wasa to enter a student life in the 


University of Abo. He enjoyed few X>{ the luxuries and 
the amenities which we identify with the existence of an> 
undergraduate. Such a university life as is to be found in 
Aberdeen or St. Andrews presents a truer analogy with that 
in a Scandinavian town. Most of the students were poor^ 

FIRE OF Abo. 103 

many of them extremely poor^ and among these few had 
a harder struggle than Buneberg. In the spring of 1827 
he successfully closed his examinations, and received the 
degree of Doctor of Philosophy. It was a little earlier than 
this that he made his first appearance before the literary 
public. One evening in 1826 a party of young people met 
at the house of Archbishop Tengstrom, the metropolitan 
of Finland ; a game of forfeits was set on foot, the last of 
which was lost by a student of the name of Buneberg. The 
young ladies put their heads together, and finally decided 
that, as he was suspected of writing verses, he should then 
and there compose a Hymn to the Sun. This he accom- 
plished, nothing loth ; and it was so highly approved of that 
Sjostrom, then considered one of the chief Finnish poets, 
printed it forthwith in a newspaper of which he was the 
editor. The young poet had hardly received his degree, 
when an event occurred which entirely revolutionised his 
career. On a niild September evening in 1827, as the 


good people of Abo were going to bed, they were alarmed 
to hear the tocsin furiously sounded from the tower of 
their cathedral. A girl had spilt some tallow, the tallow 
had taken fire, and in half an hour the wood-built city was 
in a blaze. The fire spread with infinite velocity, engulfed 
the university first, and then the cathedral; before the 
morning broke, not an eighth of the flourishing capital of 
Finland still existed. In the confusion that ensued, the 
university was transferred to Helsingfors, a larger town 
further east on the G-uIf of Finland, and this place has 
since then been the seat of government. Buneberg was left 
to choose his career. He decided to leave the sea-coast, 
where he associated only with educated persons using the 


Swedish language, and to penetrate into the heart of the 
country, by so doing to gain a knowledge of his beautiful 
fatherland and its singular aborigines. He therefore 
accepted a tutorship in a family living at Saarijarvl^ a 
sequestered village in the heart of the country, on the high 
road between the Crulf of Bothnia and the White Sea. 
Here he had plenty of leisure to study the primitive life 
of the country people, among the desolate and impressive 
scenery of the interior. Saarijarvi lies on the extreme arm 
of one of the great winding lakes, that seem to meander 
for ever between forest and moorland, thickly dotted with 
innumerable islands. Bound it stretch in every direction 
the interminable beech-woods, mufSing the air with such 
a silence that the woodman's axe &lls with a mysterious, 
almost with a sinister sound* There are few spots in 
Europe so utterly remote and inaccessible ; the solitude is 
broken only by the former's cart, the footstep of some 
wandering Finn or Quain, or the voice of a Bussian pedlar 
from Archangel singing loudly to keep himself companj^ 
through the woods. Here it was that Buneberg buried 
himself for three years. He had a good many books, mainly 
the Greek poets ; he studied hard, whether nature was his 
master or Homer, and he set himself studiously to unlearn 
whatever his teachers had taught him of the art of Swedish 
poetry. The ruling genius of Sweden at that date was 
Tegner, the &mous poet of ' Frithiofs saga,' in whom the 
peculiarly Swedish vice of style, which consists in cultiva- 
ting empty and sonorous phrases, had reached its climas. 
Tegner was a poet of great genius, but he had not the 
intellectual courage or the inclination to cast behind him 
the poetic phraseology of his day. Instead of doing this^ 



instead of adopting a realistic style, he simply gilded and 
polished the old ' ideal ' language, and the practical result 
of his brilliant productions was to paralyse poetry in 
Sweden for half a century. It was right that the voice 
t^hich was to do away for ever with this glitter and fustian 
should come out of the wilderness. Not in Lund or Upsala, 
but in an imknown village in the heart of the forests of 
Finland, the seed was germinating which was destined 
to fill the whole country with a flower of a new sort, a veri- 
4iable wood-rose to take the place of the fabulous asphodeL 
In Tegner the old forces that battled in Swedish literature 
•had found a common ground, and^ as it were, an apotheosis. 
There were no longer academic writers who loved the old 
French rules, ' Fhosphorists ' who outdid Tieck and Novalis 
in mysticism, Gothic poets who sought to reconcile the 
antique Scandinavian myths to elegant manners and modem 
thoughts ; all these warring groups united in Tega6r or were 
extinguished by him. Between Tegner and Buneberg the 
natural link is wanting. This link properly consists, it 
appears to me, in Longfellow, who is an anomaly in 
American literature, but who has the fall character of a 
"Swedish poet, and who, had he been bom in Sweden, would 
have completed exactly enough the chain of style that ought 
to unite the idealism of Tegner to the realism of Buneberg. 
'The poem of ' Evangeline ' has really no place in Anglo- 
Saxon poetry ; in Swedish it would accurately express a 
stage in the progress of literature which is now unfilled. 
It is known that Mr. Longfellow has cultivated the lan- 
guage of Sweden with much assiduity, and has contemplated 
literary life in that country with all the unconscioug 
affection of a changeling. 


The years spent by Runeberg at Saarijarvi were occu- 
pied in almost continual literary production. He wrote 
here the most important and most original works of his 
early manhood. Among these must be mentioned ' Svarts- 
jukans natter ' (' Nights of Jealousy '), a large part of his 
* Lyrical Poems,' and his great epic or idyl of ' Elgskyt- 
tame,' or *The Elk Hunters.' Of these the lyrical 
poems have lately been translated in their entirety in a 
version remarkable for care and scholarship.' They were 
originally published, together with a collection of Servian 
Folksongs, in 1830, and formed Buneberg's first published 
volume. This publication followed close upon the young 
writer's reappearance in the civilised world ; he left his 
hermitage in that year to accept the post of amanuensis to 
the council of the university, now settled in Helsingfors. 
The volume was dedicated to Franz^n, the poet-bishop of 
Hemosand, one of the most illustrious persons Finland had 
produced ; a poem addressed to this eminent man breathes 
the same fresh and unconventional air that animates the 
body of the book itself, and also contains not a few traces 
of the study of the poet eulogised. In fact, the influence 
of Franz6n is strong throughout the early writings of 
Buneberg — a pure and genial, but not robust influence, 
which did the young poet no harm, and out of which he 
very speedily grew. Franzen wrote to him a letter full of" 
tenderness and prophecy. ' I know,' h§ had the generosity 
to write to this unknown beginner, 'that it is a great 
poet that Finland is about to produce in you.' The 

' Johan Ludvig Rnneberg's < Lyrical Songs, IdyUs, and EpigramSy*^ 
done into English by Eirikr Magnusson, and E. H. Palmer. London^ 


perfome of the violet and the song of the lark were strong 
in this book of thoroughly sincere and unaiBFected verses, 
and the public was not slow in acknowledging the Bishop 
of Hemosand to have been a true prophet. 

In 1831 he attempted to win larger laurels than the 
coteries of Helsingfors could offer him. He sent in to the 
annual prize-giving of the Swedish Academy a poem of 
considerable length, ' Q-rafven i Perrho ' (* The Grave in 
Perrho '), a work which for the first time displayed to 
advantage his rich severity of style, his epic force and 
freshness. It was the story of a grave in the wilds of 
Finland, the grave of an old man and his six tall sons, and 
told with infinite beauty the tragic circumstances that laid 
them there. The Swedish Academy, unable to overlook 
so much originality, but unwilling to crown a realist who 
disregarded the conventionalities so nidely, rewarded the 
poet with the small gold medal — a distinction commonly 
given to very mediocre merit. Still this was a measure of 
national recognition : and, in the glee of success, Bune- 
berg married one of the young ladies who had set him his 
first lesson in verse five years before, at the house of 
Archbishop Tengstrom. This year, indeed, proved a turn- 
ing-point in his life, for he received a post which bound 
him to the capital ; in reward for a learned tractate com- 
paring the ' Medea ' of Euripides with the ' Medea ' of 
Seneca, he was appointed Lecturer on Boman Literature 
at the University. From this time forward every step 
was an advance ; he felt himself more and more sure of his 
genius, of his representative position in so small a state as 
Finland, where he began to take a place as literary oracle. 
He now undertook the labours of journalism, and founded 


a newspaper, the ' Helrangfora MoigonUad,' which he 
edited with such 8ucce» that it became the most influen- 
tial journal in the grand duchy. Buneberg remained sole 
editor until 1837, and during these years he made it the 
medium of spreading &r and wide the principles of culture 
and literary taste. All the best critical writings of the 
poet, all which is preserved in the sixth volume of his col- 
lected works, originally saw the light in the columns of 
the ^ Helsingfors Morgonblad.' 

The greatest result of his solitude at Saarijarvi 
remained, however, still unknown till in 1832 he published 
his ' Elgskyttame,' or *The Elk Hunters.' This poem 
marks an epoch in Swedish literature. It is as remark- 
able in its way as the novels of Zola ; it begins a new 
class of work, it is one of the masterpieces of scrupulous 
realism, a true product of the nineteenth century. The 
form is the same adopted by Voss, Groethe, Tegner, Kings- 
ley, and many more North European poets for narrative 
work — the dactylic hexameter. But the Swedish language 
suits this exotic growth much better than Grerman or 
English : there are more compact masses of rolling sound 
to be obtained, it is far more easy to observe the rules of 
position. Runeberg seems to have gone straight back to 
Homer for his model ; and though there are moments when 
we feel that he could not entirely forget ' Hermann und 
Dorothea,' his hexameters have as a rule a more pure and 
classical character than Goethe's* The plan of the poem 
is as follows. The local magnate of an inland Finnish 
district, the Kommissarie or Agent, has ordered all the 
chief men of the place to meet at his house for an elk- 
hunt next morning. The worthy farmer, Petrus, at home 


in his large guest-room, prepares, half overcome with 
sleep, for the duties of the morrow, furbishing up his gun, 
and listening to his wife Anna, as she busies herself in the 
house and gossips. The door opens, and Anna's brother, 
Mathias, a rich farmer from a distant parish, whose wife 
had died about a year before, appears on an improvised 
visit. He has scarcely sat down to supper, when Anna 
commences to mourn over the desolate condition of his 
children, and urges him to find a wife to take care of his 
fine home at Kuru. Petrus proposes the beauty of their 
parish, Hedda, the daughter of Zacharias, and the pair 
paint her virtues in such glowing terms that Mathias 
begins to wish to see her. It is agreed that he shall 
foUow the hunt next morning, and be introduced to her 
incidentally at the meet. Next morning Petrus is waked 
by the noise of a quarrel between Pavo, one of his servants^ 
and Aron^ a beggar to whom, after the Finnish custom, he 
is exercising hospitality. He rises in the dark winter 
morning, and he and Mathias start for the rendezvous. It 
is a ringing frosty day, or rather night, for the stars are 
still brilliant overhead. Petrus supplies his brother-in-law 
with an old Swedish rifle, a jewel of a weapon, as he explains 
in an episode. It was with this rifle that Petrus's uncle, 
Joannes, picked out a spy at an incredible distance in 
1808, and this leads to other tales of the great war with 
which they beguile the way to the Agent's. At last they 
reach the house, and receive a warm welcome ; already the 
guest-room is full of people, and among the first they 
meet are Zacharias and his lovely daughter Hedda. There 
are, moreover, a group of Eussian pedlars from Archangel 
who recognise Mathias, and loudly praise the hospitality 


they lately enjoyed at his house in Kuru. One of the 
pedlars, the brown-bearded Ontrus, thinks this an excellent 
opportunity for hawking his wares, and we have an ex- 
quisite picture of the girls darting like swallows around 
his pack as he displays his treasures. But alas I they are 
poor, and there are no purchases. Mathias conceives that 
this is the moment for him to advance. He buys presents 
for them all, but the most costly and most tempting for 
Hedda. Fetrus cannot , help paying the beautiful girl a 
compliment in these words : — 

As when a cloud in spring hangs bright o'er the trees on a hill-dde, 
Hushed is the underwood all, and the birches stand mutely admiring. 
Watching the pride of the morning, the rose-hued breast of the 

Till from the heart of it issues a breeze, and the shoots on the 

Tenderly wave, and their leaves half unfolded shiver with pleasure, 
Not less quivers the youth when he gazes on Hedda and hears her.* 

Hedda finds herself in a shy confusion, and sends Mathias 
3> grateful glance when he reproves his brother-in-law for 
this persiflage. The Agent now appears, dawn is break- 
ing, and the hunters all go out into the snow, Mathias 
still dreaming of the beauty of Hedda. However, they 
■call upon him for a story, and he rouses himself to de- 
scribe, in the most powerful and brilliant language, the 
killing of a bear. They find the elk on a wooded island, 
and the hunt begins ; but we are transported back to the 
Agent's guest-room, where the Archangel traders have 
made themselves cosy with the girls, and where the 
youngest of them, the handsome Tobias, excited with 
beer and love, begins to dance about, and to offer the 
indignant Hedda all his wares in exchange for a kiss* 

* Appendix T. 


Bis elder brother, Ontrus, turns him out of doors^ where he 
screams and sings and jumps about till he drops down 
fast asleep. Ontrus gravely presses on Hedda the ad- 
vantages she would find in marrying this his scapegrace 
brother, till she at last escapes from his importunity by 
joining the old women upstairs. Ontrus then has a vio- 
lent quarrel with a spiteful ancient dame, the cripple 
Bebecca, and at last falls fast asleep upon the floor. This 
odd scene is described with great humour, and in minute 
detail, like a Teniers. Meanwhile the hunt proceeds ; 
four elks are shot, of which Mathias bags two with the 
famous Swedish gun. On the way home he asks Zacha- 
rias for leave to court his daughter. No sooner has he 
•entered the guest-room than he finds an opportunity of 
speaking to Hedda, and is on the point of tenderly press- 
ing his suit, when the abominable old Bebecca puts in 
an oar and spoils it aU. The girl flies to an upper room, 
but Mathias sends Petrus after her. A very quaint and 
charming scene ensues. Petrus sits down with his pipe 
opposite the conscious maiden, and recounts at great 
length the virtues and the possessions of this 'brave 
Mathias from Kuru,' — ^how fine his &rmstead is, how wild 
and fertile his fields are, — taking care to explain that they 
consist of rich black top-soil on a clayey bottom. These 
poetic details move the maiden less than an eloquent re- 
•cital of the vigour and excellence of the possessor, and 
Petrus begs her not to refuse because Mathias is no 
longer a romantic youth. He perorises thus : — 

Never so rich is in blossoms a field in the heart of the summer, 
Ohild, as in pleasures the way to the grave if we walk with con- 
tentment ; 
If we but step with a care to the road, nor let Hope the enchantress 


Leap from the path at our feet, and persuade us another were fiairer. 
Only the fool is beguiled, but he follows and wantonly wavers. 
Never at peace, till death suddenly Mis on him, sighing, and takes- 

Hedda finds it difficult to reply, but at last she manager 
to murmur a pretty and modest assent. And she sits 
awhile, weeping for pleasure, and patting Petrus's hand,, 
until he weeps too, to keep her company. Then Mathias 
comes, and aU is happiness. We are now taken back ta 
the homestead at TjaderkuUe, where Anna sits at home, 
while Aron the beggar plays national airs upon the Jew's- 
harp — an instrument, perhaps, hitherto unknown to epic 
poetry. At Anna's desire he tells the terrible story of his 
life : how one bad season after another ruined him, till at 
last his wife died of starvation, and he himself nearly 
went mad. He has scarcely closed this tragical recital, 
when Petrus enters, and proposes they should all imme- 
diately proceed to the Agent's house, to be present at the 
betrothal of Mathias; this they accordingly do, and the 
poem ends with a spirited and humorous picture of the 
scene at the ceremony. 

The next few years of Runeberg's life were full of work 
and happiness. In 1833 he published a second volume 
of lyrical poems, and improved his economical position 
by lecturing on Greek literature in the university. It 
was about the same time that he met the indefatigable 
collector of Finnish legends, the famous Dr. Elias 
Lonnroth, then still occupied in putting together the 
ancient epic of the * Kalevala.' In this new-found treasure- 
house of mythological wealth Runeberg took the keenest 
interest, and translated the beginning of it into Swedish. 

* Appendix U, 

'HANNA.' 113 

In 1836 Lonnroth made himself and Finland famous 
throughout Europe by his publication of the original text. 
It is perhaps fortunate that Euneberg did not carry out 
his original idea of translating the whole of the ' Kalevala,' 
a work well performed by less representative hands than 
his. In 1834 he had attempted dramatic creation, in the 
form of a comedy in verse, ' Friaren frSn Landet ' (' The 
Country Lover '), which was acted and printed in ' Mor- 
gonbladj' but which the poet would never allow to be re- 
printed among his works. In 1836 appeared a poem far 
more worthy of his genius, the delicate idyl of ' Hanna.' 
This also is written in hexameters, and closes the first 
period of his poetic career. It was dedicated ^To the 
First Love,' and it forms, in fact, a kind of modem 
' Eomeo and Juliet.' In a quiet Finland parsonage the 
pastor sits in his study, calmly smoking his pipe, and 
gazing over the hazy landscape. It is a warm summer 
afternoon, and he sits waiting for his son, who has just 
passed his examination at Abo. The lad has been told 
that if he passes he may bring home with him some poor 
comrade to spend the vacation in the country ; and he 
has passed, so a stranger is expected. In another room 
sits the pastor's lovely daughter, Hanna, weaving, but the 
perfdme of the lilacs, blossoming at the open window, 
troubles her fancy, and she leans out into the warm air, 
her brain full of little graceful vanities, the pretty whims 
of a spoilt child. At this moment the old housekeeper, 
Susanna, enters, and tells her to dress as quickly as sh'^ 
can to receive the BailiflF, a man of fifty, rich and re- 
spected, who has just come to pay her father a visit. 
From some words the portly gentleman has let fall, she 



fancies that his mission is to ask Hanna for his wife. The 
girl is much fluttered, but not displeased at this notion : 
to be the chief lady of the place is flattering to her vanity, 
and she does not comprehend what it is to be a wife. 
Her father comes to call her down, and though she clings 
to Susanna in her confusion, she is absolutely obliged to 
open the study-door at last. 

Blushing she stood at the door, in the exquisite charm of her shyness, 
Ooy as a strip of the sea that is caught by the rush of the mornings 
Slender and quivering in rosy dismay through tlie gloom of the wood- 

The Bailiff is hardly less confused than she ; but her 
father, who greatly desires the match, expends much 
flowing speech, till the suitor succeeds in gaining confi- 
dence, and expatiates on the charms of his house and 
garden, the latter being so well-cultured and protected 
that sometimes, in very warm summers, they manage to 
ripen an apple. He apologises much for his age, though 
this has not occurred to Hanna as an objection. They 
give her some days to make up her mind, and she fl.ies 
to her own room. There a girl, half friend, half depen- 
dent, called Johanna, is taken into her confidence, and 
violently objects to the match, advising Hanna to wait 
for some young suitor. Hanna, a little shaken in resolu- 
tion, is desiring more light on this difficult subject, when 
suddenly her brother and his friend arrive. The BailiflF 
has by this time gone, and the pastor is left free to 
welcome his son. The friend is discovered to be the son 
of the poet whose bosom companion the pastor was at 
college, and who died early. He is a handsome, ardent, 
ingenuous youth, and the old man is delighted thus to 

> Appendix V. 

'HANNA.' • 115 


renew the early alliance. Hanna enters, and there is 
mutual love at first sight. With him it is conscious, 
with her it is an unconscious trouble and dismay for 
which she cannot account. The pastor desires that they 
should embrace one another as, if they were brother and 
sister, and Hanna kisses him lightly, like a summer wind, 
and disappears, to think it all over in her own room. 

' So she thought to herself, and her thoughts were less 
words than a perfume.' She smiles to think how fresh 
and radiant he is, and then she weeps — not, she says, for 
love, but in anger that he, a young poor student, should 
dare to look so charming and so confidential. They have 
the evening meal together, and then her brother insists 
that she and the friend should go with him for a long 
stroll together. They proceed down to the lake, and the 
brother expatiates on the scene, a truly inland land- 


scape, unlike the coast of the Grulf of Finland at Abo. 

* Look at the lake in the sunset/ he answered, ' look you, how unlike 

Tis to the sea as it moans round the rock-built shores of your child- 
hood ! 

Here there are verdure and colour and life; quaint nnmberlesa 

Shoot &om the breast of the wave, and, gracefully swaying on each 

Clumps of underwood offer the worn-out mariner shadow. 

Follow me down to the beach, calm strip between meadow and 

Here you may glance o'er a wider expanse, discerning the hamlet 

Dimly sequestered afar, and the steeple that shines in the distance.' ^ 

They continue their walk in the soft and magical air 
of a northern simset, while their voices grow intenser and 
graver. A talk about wild birds reveals the tenderness of 

* Appendix W. 
I 2 


Hanna's nature, and she is led to tell, with exquisite 
pathos, the story of the death of an old fisherman whose 
hut they pass. At last the brother confesses that he is 
betrothed to the friend's sister. They all seat themselves 
in the purple twilight round a bubbling well, and subdued 
by the witchcraft of the sound of the water, the perfume 
of the earth and the colour of the heavens, the lovers, 
who only met a few hours before, obey a sovereign im- 
pulse and fall into each other's arms. The brother is de- 
lighted; all three proceed through the deepening dusk 
to ask the father's blessing, which he grants with some 
surprise, but with a very fairly good grace. 

The great landmarks in a poet's life are events which 
would scarcely be worthy of mention in the biography 
of a man of action. The solitude at Saarijarvi, the 
public career in Helsingfors, had each in succession 
moulded and ripened the powers of Euneberg's mind ; a 
third step, the last in his life, was to develop those powers 
to their utmost, and to prepare him for their natural 
decay. In 1837 he accepted a professorate of Latin 
Literature at the College of BorgS, and removed thither 
with his family. This quiet little town remained his 
home for forty years, until his death. BorgS, which the 
long residence of Euneberg has rendered famous, lies 
some thirty miles east of Helsingfors, close to the sea, and 
on the high road into Eussia. It has a cathedral and 
a bishop, and enjoys a certain sleepy distinction that 
prevents it from becoming too tamely provincial; but 
nothing can avail to make it other than a very hushed 
and dreamy little place. The poet became exceedingly 
attached to BorgS, and soon fell into that absolute, almost 


mechanical round of life which so often marks the later 
years of men of genius. In this quietude, which the 
coUege and the cathedral preserved from entire stagnation, 
he was able to write without distraction, and with the 
utmost regularity. He was now recognised as a leading 
poet throughout Scandinavia: in 1839 the Swedish 
Academy, of its own free will, voted him the large gold 
medal, the highest compliment in its gift^ and had he 
been a citizen of Sweden he would without doubt have 
been forthwith elected into that stately body. Baron von 
Beskow, on behalf of the Academy, conveyed to the young 
Finnish poet a series of compliments that could not fail to 
gratify him. It was indeed a period of transition. The 
old writers were passing away ; several eminent poets of 
the elder generation had just died — Wadman, Nicander, 
Wallin. Tegn^r was at the height of his glory; there 
was no young man so fit to be considered heir apparent of 
the skaldship as Euneberg. He was thus urged on to still 
higher attainment. His first work at BorgS was of 
doubtful success. ' Julqvallen,' or ' Christmas Eve,' is an 
idyl of the same class as 'The Elk Hunters' and ^Hanna,' 
but it possesses neither the force of the first nor the sweet- 
ness and colour of the second. It is not even a complete 
story ; it is merely an episode, and an episode not specially 
suited to poetic treatment. At the same time it is 
worked out with even finer dramatic tact and insight. 
An old crippled soldier, Pistol, is stumbling from his hut 
in the woods, through the snow, to the house of the Major, 
who has invited him to come to spend the festive Christmas 
Eve with his servants. Much jollity, however, cannot be 
expected : everyone has some near relative away in the 


Biisfidan armies fighting the Turk, and who knows if he be 
alive or dead ? Pistol thinks of his only son, the apple of 
his eye, of whom he has for a long while heard nothing. 
While he tramps on, he hears a carriage behind him, and 
the clear voice of the Major's yomiger daughter, Augusta, 
calling to him to get in and ride. She is the light of the 
whole parish, and a universal &vourite. Her elder sister, 
whose husband is away in the war, and her mother, spend 
their days in weeping and sighing, and nearly drive the 
old Major out of his wits ; Augusta alone tries to keep 
up something like cheerfulness at home. When they 
arrive at the house. Pistol goes into the kitchen, Augusta 
into the guest-room, where she finds the usual scene of 
petulant recrimination going on. Even she is almost in 
despair. But by degrees she manages to bring peace into 
the house again, and the way in which the Christmas Eve 
is spent, above stairs and below, is described very brightly 
and humorously. In the midst of it all there is a great 
noise in the courtyard, lights are brought, and it is found 
that the Lieutenant, Augusta's brother-in-law, has come 
back safe and sound. There are universal rejoicings, 
until he comes to explain that poor Pistol's son has been 
killed by the enemy in a skirmish. This renews their 
regret, and Pistol is almost broken-hearted, thinking of 
the desolate life he must now live, alone in the woods. 
But the Major declares that he will not allow him to go 
back to that solitude; he must in future take up his 
abode as one of the retainers of the great house, and in 
the prospect of so much kindness he is a little consoled 
for his loss. In 'Julqvallen' Buneberg returns to the 
rigidly realistic style of * Elgskyttame,' which he had 


' NADESCHDA.' 119 

partly abandoned in ' Hanna ' in fevoar of a tenderer and 
more romantic feeling. 

In the same year, 1841, he published a very different 
poem, and a more successful one. He had hitherto 
devoted himself entirely to the study of Finnish character 
and the scenery of Finland; in ^Nadeschda' he has 
drawn from his experience of Bussian character and 
manners, and has in fact written one of those Builinas 
or national Eussian epics about which Mr. Balston has told 
us much and promised us more in his charming ' Songs of 
the Bussian People.' This curious poem is closely allied 
to the lyrical stories that Buibnikof collected on the 
shores of Lake Onega from the lips of the peasants ; it 
is composed from the peasant's point of view, and shows a 
singular insight into Bussian popular feeling. Until Mr. 
Balston completes his study of the Builinas, it is not easy 
for a non-Bussian student to understand what is exactly 
the form of these curious epics ; but Buneberg has pro- 
bably been correct in composing ' Nadeschda ' in a great 
variety of imrhymed, strongly accentuated measures. 
Nadeschda is a lovely Bussian girl, a serf, and when the 
poem opens we find her wandering beside a tributary of 
the Moskwa, stirring the flowers with her fair feet, and 
dreaming of some vague lover, who will come to marry 
her. She bends over the water, and while she is admiring 
her own reflection, she remembers that this beauty is the 
beauty of a slave, and can be bought and sold. At this 
moment Miljutin, her foster-father, comes to summon her 
to the festival of welcoming Prince Woldmar, their master, 
back to the castle. Nadeschda will not come, full of this 
new revolt against the humiliation of her birth. At last 


Miljutin persuades her to come, and leaves her that she 
may adorn herself; but she refuses to bathe in the river, 
to girdle herself with flowers, or to put on her saint's-day 
garments. She weaves a belt of thistles and other 
dolorous herbs, and binding them round her common 
dress, she follows Miljutin, Meanwhile Prince Woldmar 
is approaching in a golden chariot, accompanied by his 
brother Dmitri, who is burning with jealousy to see the 
noble estate which his brother has inherited. Just out- 
side the gates they stop, at Dmitri's desire, and while the 
cortege waits, the brothers, with their falcons on their 
wrists, pass out into the woodland. They send their 
hawks after a dove, who flies in terror into Woldmar's 
bosom, and Woldmar's falcon kills Dmitri's. At this the 
evil brother's rage increases, and he demands a ransom. 
Woldmar promises him the fairest of his slaves, and at 
that moment they perceive Nadeschda passing through the 
forest towards the castle. They regain their carriage, but 
these incidents have suflBced to throw Woldmar into a rage, 
and as they drive up through the ranks of gaily-dressed 
retainers, his eye catches one girl who has only a coil of 
straw in her hair and thistles for a girdle. He stops 
and shouts to her to come to him ; 4t is Nadeschda, He 
storms at her for her disrespect, and swears she shall 
instantly marry the basest of his grooms ; but she, 
glancing timidly at him, perceives that he is the lover of 
her dream, and she flushes rosy red with shame and sorrow. 
He falls under the spell of her beauty and loves her, even 
before he has finished his reproof. Dmitri, also, perceives 
her loveliness, and claims her as the ransom for his falcon. 
But Woldmar gives Nadeschda her freedom, and then 


* NADESCHDA.' 121 

brusquely turning to Dmitri, says that he only promised 
to give him a slave, and that this is a free woman. 
Dmitri, excessively piqued, sends out the same night to 
secure her, but she has disappeared, and he cannot discover 
what has become of her. Two years are now supposed to 
pass, and we are presented to Nadeschda, a lovely and 
accomplished woman, who has been protected and 
educated in hiding by some noble ladies, friends of Prince 
Woldmar. He comes to visit her, and we are given one 
of Euneberg'e characteristic love-scenes, full of tenderness 
and highly-wrought passion. He explains to her that 
they have everything to fear from his mother's pride and 
his brother's jealousy. In the next canto, however, he has 
resolved to brave these dangers, and bringing Nadeschda 
to his castle, he is about to be privately married to her, 
when Prince Dmitri hears of it, and communicates with 
his mother, the Princess Natalia Feodorowni. The proud 
dowager determines that, sooner than her son shall marry 
a serf, she will herself denounce him to the Empress. We 
then have a very dramatic scene. Potemkin is presented 
lounging on a rich ottoman, and scolding General 
Kutusoff and other eminent soldiers for the laxity of their 
regiments : he has some insolent word for each, and finally 
bids them all to leave his presence, except Prince 
Woldmar. Potemkin charges him with his intended 
mSsaUiance as with a crime, tells him of the Empress's 
displeasure, sends him off forthwith to Tomsk, and gives 
his castle, with Nadeschda in it, into his mother's care. 
Nadeschda is turned out of doors, and returns to the hut 
of her foster father Miljutin. Thither Dmitri follows 
her, expecting an easy conquest, but her dignity and her 


despair overcome him, and he consents to leaye her 
unmolested. The Princess Natalia ruins the district with 
her tyrannies, and the serfs are in the last ^condition of 
destitution, when suddenly the Empress announces that 
she is coming to the castle to spend the night. To hide 
the desolation of the scene, the Princess has some painted 
semblances of cottages set up along the opposite hill-side, 
and when the Empress arrives, she is so pleased at this 
appearance of comfort that she insists on going to visit 
the cottagers themselves. The Princess is accordingly 
disgraced, Nadeschda throws herself at the Empress's feet 
and is pardoned, and Prince Woldmar returns to celebrate 
his marriage. 

The position of Buneberg at BorgS became more and 
more firmly settled. In 1842 he was offered and accepted 
the chair of Greek. A third volume of lyrical poems, ia 

1843, and the cycle of romances entitled ' Kung Fjalar,' in 

1 844, testified to the freshness and ascending vigour of his 
imagination. 'Kung Fjalar,' in fact, marks the very 
apex of his powers ; Buneberg never exceeded this tragic 
work in the admirable later creations of his brain. It has 
an audacity, an originality that raise it to the first order 
of lyric writing. It is very diflBcult, by making a cold- 
blooded analysis of such a poem, to give the reader the 
least notion of its beauty. The plot is as follows. A 
mythical king of Q-authiod, Fjalar, has fought many 
battles and won as many victories ; his hair is silver, and 
he now determines to live at home in peace, and keep 
watch over the prosperity of his people. It is Christmas 
time, and there are revellings in Fjalar's castle. As his 
warriors gather round him, he tells them that he desires 



rest ; he swears that by his own help, resting on his own 
will alone, he will lead the land up into wealth and 
happiness. As he makes this oath, an imknown stranger 
strides up the hall ; he uncovers his fia,ce — ^it is Dargar the 
seer, the all-wise prophet, who hates Fjalar. He prophe- 
sies woe to Crauthiod and its king ; and, as a last sorrow, 
Fjalar is to see before he dies his only daughter locked 
in the burning embrace of his only son. At a curse so 
fearfiil, silence and consternation rule in the hall : no one 
dares to speak till Fjalar orders the nurse to bring Hjalmar 
and Crerda, his infant children. He takes one babe on 
each arm, not knowing which to sacrifice, till at last his 
warriors persuade him to leave the boy to reign after him. 
One of them, Sjolf, approaches, and lifting Grerdafrom the 
king^s embrace, takes, her out into the night, and flings 
her, ' a laughing sacrifice,' off the cliff into the roaring 
sea. Fjalar forbids her name to be mentioned again, and 
then walks out in silence. The next canto takes us twenty 
years onward. In the Ossianic kingdom of Morven, the 
three sons of the king are all in love with his foster- 
daughter Oihonna, a lovely being mysteriously saved from 
the waves. Each of the sons tries to win her heart by a 
song. This is Grail's, the eldest : — 

Come, Oihonna, follow my life I 
The hunter loves thee, roBy cloud ! 
The tall prince of the mountains 
Frays thee to share his upland footways. 

Hast tl^ou seen from thy mountain rocks 
The broad expanses smile in the morning? 
Hast thou seen the wakening sunrise . 
Drink the dew of the trembling haze ? 


Kemetnber the sound of the windy woodlands, 
Leaves that stir in the wing of the wind, 
Birds' riot, and the intoxicate 
Brook that flies through the sounding boulders ! 

Dost thou know how beats the heart 
When to the noise of the horn and hounds 
Bustle the bushes, and lo ! the stag 
Checks his leap and is here before us ? 

Maiden, lov'st thou the sombre twilight 
That melts to the shine of the dewy stars ? 
Come, from the summit of Mellmor 
Let us watch how the night is bom. 

how oft have I sat on the mountain 
When in the west the sun has been closing 
His glimmering gates, and the red glow 
Slowly faded out of the sky. 

1 have drunk the cool of the spirit of even, 
Seen the shadows walk over the valleys. 
Let my thoughts go wander 

Around the sea of nightly silence. 

Lovely is life on the cloudy heights, 

'Tis easy to breathe in the fragrant woods ; 

Ah ! be my bride I I will open" 

A thousand pleasures around thy heart.* 

So sings Gall the hunter, but in vain ; nor can Eurmar 
the bard, nor Clesamor the warrior soften her cryst^ heart. 
Next we have a scene in which Oihonna, ^ the huntress of 
the swan-like arm,' is hunting the deer in the valley of 
Lora, in company with her friend the singer Gylnandyne. 
She sings the saga which tells how Hjalmar desired his 
father. King Fjalar, to let him go a-viking, and how, 
when the king would not, Hjalmar got away by stealth and 
won glory at sea. At this moment Oihonna is summoned 
back to Morven. When she arrives there, the Scotch king 


' Appendix X. 



tells her of the circumstances of her coming to that land, 

how a captain, sailing one Christmas night by King 

Fjalar's castle, found a girl-child in the sea, brought her 

to Morven, and dying, bequeathed her to the king. 

Hjahuar, the terrible vikingr, now appears and attacks 

Morven. He fights with each of the sons of King Morannel 

in turn, and kills them ; the youngest, Clesamor, fights 

so well that Morven trembles to hear a late half-dying 

echo from Ossian's heroic days, but falls at last. Morannel 

dies of grief in the arms of Oihonna. We then return to 

Crauthiod, where, from the heights above his castle, Fjalar, 

now extremely old, gazes in content and self-gratulation 

over the land that has prospered under his firm will and 

peaceful rule. He thinks of the old curse only to deride 

it, when suddenly the evil seer, Dargar, arrives, and 

denounces the king. The hour of the vengeance of the 

gods is, he says, at hand ; and he points to a golden speck 

on the horizon, the dragon of Hjalmar returning across 

the sea. They watched the approaching fleet; the prows 

grate the shore, and Hjalmar slowly ascends the mountain 

with a bloody sword in his hand. He explains that from 

the court of Morven he bore off Oihanna, a lovely and a 

loving bride ; that on their homeward voyage she told the 

story of her birth, and that he perceived her too late to be 

his sister. With the sword he holds he slew her, and now 

he slays himself before his father's throne. The sun goes 

down, and when they turn to King Fjalar he is dead. 

Even from so slight an outline as this it may be seen how 

lofty a rendering this is of the old theme that wise men 

are powerless fighting against the gods. Fjalar is great, 

virtuous, and humane, but because he does not make the 


gods witnesses to his oath, he brings down upon himself 
and his race their slow but implacable vengeance. The 
style in which this poem is composed is exceedingly cold 
and severe, with delicate lyrical passages introduced with- 
out any detriment to the general solemnity. The work 
is like a noble frieze in marble, where among the sublime 
figures of the gods and their victims, the sculptor has 
sought to introduce an element of tenderer beauty in the 
flying graces of a garment or the innocent sweetness of a 
child's averted head. 

We have now arrived at the work which did most 
to give Buneberg a name throughout all classes and in 
aU the provinces of the North. It was in 1848 that 
he published the first series of 'Fanrik StSls Sagner' 
(^ Ensign StSl's Stories '), a series of narrative poems dealing 
with the war of independence in 1808. The cycle pro- 
fesses to be said and sung by an old ensign, a veteran from 
the days of Dobeln and Adlercreutz, who recites to a young 
student all he can remember about the war. Similar 
stories Buneberg himself had heard, as a boy of sixteen, 
from an old corporal at Buovesi. He himself, as we have 
said, dimly remembered seeing the Swedish and Bussian 
armies pass through his birth-place, Jakobsstad. The 
publication of these national poems, breathing the full 
perfume of patriotic regret, the mingled tone of war-song 
and of elegy, created such a sensation as is but poorly 
comparable with the success of Mr. Tennyson's ' Charge of 
the Light Brigade.' The volume was such a one as Mr. 
Dobell's ' England in Time of War ' might have proved 
in the hands of a far saner and more judicious poet. The 
first series appeared in 1848, the second in 1860; and 



with one poem on the treacherous surrender of Sveahorg, 
which was suppressed at the supplication of the descend- 
ants of the traitor, there are thirty-five pieces in all. 
They are varied in subject and style ; they describe every- 
one from the king and the generals down to village 
maidens and 'drunken privates of the Buff.' 'Fanrik 
StSls Sagner' opens « with the famous hymn which has 
become the national anthem of Finland, ' VSrt land, vSrt 
land.' This is one of the noblest strains of patriotic verse 
ever indited ; it lift« Euneberg at once to the level of 
Callicles or Campbell, to the first rank of poets in whom 
art and ardour, national sentiment and power of utterance, 
are equally blended. Unhappily, in its crystal simplicity 
and its somewhat elaborate verse form, it is practically 
untranslatable. To enjoy it is one of the first and best 
rewards of him who takes the trouble to learn Swedish. 
The old Ensign is next described, and the events that led 
to his repeating these tales of his ; and then the tales 
themselves begin. §ome of the figures that stand out 
against the backgroimd of the war are of a marvellous 
freshness and realistic force. The stupid Sven Dufva, 
who had an heroic heart ; Lieutenant Ziden, who cheered 
on his little .troop from Wasa ; Wilhelm von Schwerin, 
the boy-hero ; Otto von Fieandt, who uses his whip 
instead of a sword; General Adlercreutz fighting at 
Siikajoki. All are good ; it may almost be said that not 
one is poor or weak. Perhaps the most exquisite, the 
most inimitable of all is ' Soldatgossen,' the boy whose 
father — a brave young soldier — ^fell at the battle of Lappo, 
and who is only longing to be fifteen years old that he may 
take up his rifle and go to fight the Bussians. The absolute 


perfection of this poem, which it would" be ruinous to fail 
to give, is too terrifying for a translator to attempt. Such 
a poem is like the strange draughts that Persian monarchs 
boasted; it takes its colour wholly from the vase that 
holds it, and would seem mere trash poured into a less 
cunning goblet. As a ballad less fine, and in a form less 
exacting, I venture to attempt a version of *Torp- 
flickan ' : — 


The sun went down and evening came^ the quiet summer even, 
A mass of glowing purple lay between the farms and heaven 5 
A weary troop of men went by, their day's hard labour done, 
Tired and contented, towards their home they wended one by one. 

Their work was done, their harvest reaped, a goodly harvest truly, 
A well-appointed band of foes all slain or captured newly ; 
At dawn against this armed band they had gone forth to fight, 
And all had closed in victory before the fall of night. 

Close by the field where all day long the hard hot strife was raging, 
A cottage by the wayside stood, half-desolate and ageing. 
And on its worn low steps there sat a silent girl, and mused 
And watched the troop come slowly by, in weary line confused. 

She looked like one who sought a friend, she scanned each man's face 

High burned the colour in her cheek, too high for sunset merely ; 
She sat so quiet, looked so warm, so flushed with secret heat. 
It seemed she listened as she gazed, and felt her own heart beat. 

But as sdie saw the troop march by, and darkness round them stealing, 
To every file, to every man, her anxious eye appealing 
Seemed muttering in a shy distress a question vnthout speech, 
More silent than a sigh itself, too anguished to beseech. 

But when the men had all gone past, and not a word was spoken. 
The poor girl's courage failed at last, and all her strength was broken. 
She wept not loud, but on her hand her weary forehead fell, 
And large tears followed one by one as from a burning well. 


' Why dost ihou weep ? For hope may break, just -S^^e tiie ijjopm ^ ' J - 

is deepest! ^^> ^^/>* O/ 

daughter, hear thy mother's voice, a needless tear thou weepe^; ^ < \ V*^ 
He whom thy eyes were seeking for, whose face thou couldst not seC)^ ^ f 
He is not dead : he thought of love, and still he lives for thee. 

He thought of love -, I coimselled him to shield himself from danger, 

1 taught him how to slip the fight, and leave them like a stranger ; 
By force they made him march with them, but weep not, rave not thus, 
I know he will not choose to die from happy life and us.* 

Shivering the maiden rose like one whom awfiil dreams awaken, 
As if some grim foreboding all her soul in her had shaken ; 
She lingered not, she sought the place where late had raged the fight. 
And stole away and swiftly fled and vanished out of sight. 

An hour went by, another hour, the night had closed around her ; 
The moonshot clouds were silver-white, but darkness hung below 

* She lingers long ; daughter, come, thy toil is all in vain. 
To-morrow, ere the dawn is red, thy bridegroom's here again 1 * 

The daughter came ; with silent steps she came to meet her mother. 
The pallid eyelids strained no more with tears she fain would 

smother ; 
But colder than the wind at night the hand that mother pressed. 
And whiter than a winter cloud the maiden's cheek and breast. 

' Make me a grave, 0. mother dear ; my days on earth are over ! 
The only man that fled to-day, that coward, was my lover ; 
He thought of me and of himself, the battle field he scanned. 
And then betrayed his brothers' hope and shamed his father's land. 

When past our door the troop marched by^ and I their ranks had 

I wept to think that like a man among the dead he slumbered ; 
I sorrowed, but my grief was mild, it had no bitter weight, 
I would have lived a thousand years to mourn his noble fate. 

O mother, I have looked for him where'er the dead are lying. 
But none of all the stricken bear his features, calm in dying j 
Now will I live no more on earth in shame to sit and sigh. 
He lies not there among the dead^ and therefore I will die.' ^ 

* Appendix Y. 


There can be little doubt that in ^ Fanrik StSls 
Sagner' Finland has presented Swedish literature with 
the most intimate, glowing, and original poetical work 
that it possesses. And it is very interesting to note how 
much of what is most notable in the history of Sweden has 
proceeded* from this desolate and distant province, now 
hopelessly separated from the realm itself. In the annals 
of statecraft, of the church, of war, and of the na\7, the 
names of Finns are singularly prominent. In literature, 
some of the leading writers in each century — Frese in the 
seventeenth, Oreutz and Kellgren in the eighteenth, 
Franzen, Fredrika Bremer, and Zakris Topelius in the 
nineteenth — have been natives of Finland ; but of all these 
Euneberg is the greatest. On May 13, 1848, the ' VSrt 
Land,' to which music had been set by the greatest of 
Finnish composers, Pacius, was sung outside the city of 
Helsingfors, and the ringing tones of the new National 
Anthem were taken up by thousands of voices. This was 
the crowning day in the life of Euneberg. 

By this time he had outlived the economical pressure 
of his earlier years. In 1844 he had been made titular 
Professor, and decorated with the order of the North Star 
by the King of Sweden, Oscar I. In 1847 he was unani- 
mously elected Eector of the College of BorgS. In 1 85 1 he 
achieved the only foreign journey he ever took, namely, a 
trip into Sweden, the great aim of which was a visit to the 
novelist, Almqvist. He entered Stockholm just in time to 
hear that this illustrious person, perhaps the first intellect 
which Sweden then possessed, had just taken flight for 
America imder a charge of forgery and suspicion of mur- 
der. This startling catastrophe caused Euneberg a lively 


disappointment, which the Swedish Academy and its spokes- 
man, Baron Beskow, did their best to remove by the 
cordiality of their welcome. Both in the capital and in 
Upsala he enjoyed the honours of a notable lion. At Upsala 
however, he was thrown into the deepest melancholy by 
the constant necessity of answering the speeches made 
him on public occasions, for he was a very shy and poor 
speaker. He soon returned to BorgS, never to leave it 
again^ hugging himself with the delight in home which so 
often marks a man of his type of genius. He was now 
possessed of a handsome house, which it was his delight to 
fill with objects of art, for he posed as the first connoisseur 
in Finland. When he had originally settled in BorgS 
he had rented a very small and himable house in the out- 
skirts of the town ; and towards the end of his life he was 
fond of repeating a story which showed that this prophet 
at least was not without honour in his own country. For, 
walking in the lonely streets one moonlight night, he was 
struck with a desire to go and look at this little lodging 
where he had spent so many of his struggling days. He 
found it ; there was a light in the window, and, peeping 
through the shutters, he saw an artisan busy over his work, 
and singing. He listened attentively ; it was one of Eune- 
berg's own songs, and the poet turned away with tears of 
pleasure in his eyes. From this time forward hig^life was 
extremely uneventful. In 1853 he collected his prose 
writings, and published them under the title of * Smarre 
Berattelser.' In 1857, as president of the committee to 
select a National Psalter, he published a * Psalm-book for 
the use of Evangelico-Lutheran Congregations in Finland ,' 
to which he contributed sixty-two psalms of his own com- 

K 2 


position. A second series of ' Ensign StSl's Tales ' appeared 
in 1860, and he closed his long literary career with the 
production of two dramatic works, — 'Kan ej ' (' Can't '), a 
comedy in rhyme, performed and published in 1 862 ; and 
* Kungame pS Salamis ' (* The Kings at Salamis,') a tragedy 
, in the manner of Sophocles. This last is one of his noblest 
works, combining the Attic severity with the modem 
poet's realism and truth of detail. It resembles our own 
English dramas of * Atalanta in Calydon * and 'Philoctetes ' 
more closely than what the continental poets usually give 
us as revivals of the antique tragedy. The metre in 
which it is written is closely modelled on what the 
Swedish poet has conceived to be the tragic measure of 
the Greeks, the Sophoclean trimeter. 

When, in 1S70, Professor Nyblom, in editing the works 
of Runeberg, issued a biographical notice which still 
remains the chief storehouse of information, the poet was 
already in very weak and precarious health. As late, how- 
ever, as April 1877, he was well enough to publicly con- 
gratulate his old friend and fellow-poet Cygnseus on attain- 
ing his seventieth birthday. But he was taken ill very 
shortly after, and on the afternoon of Sunday, May 6, 1877, 
he passed away in his seventy-fourth year. He has left 
many disciples behind him, and in his friend and follower, 
Topelius, Sweden once more borrows from Finland her 
most prominent living poet. The influence of Buneberg 
on the literature of his timeh as been healthy and vigorous. 
In Talis Qualis, who survived him only a few weeks, 
he found in Sweden itself a quick and strong imagina- 
tion lighted at the lamp of his own. The present King 
of Sweden, Oscar II., in his excellent poem of ^ Svenska 


flottans minnen,' has shown himself a scholar of the great 
Finnish realist. In Carl Snoilsky, the latest product of 
Swedish poetry, we find another side of Runeberg's genius, 
the artistic and classic, laid under the contribution of 
discipleship, although the main current of this last writer's 
lyrical work flows in a more modem and a more intense 
channel, and proves him the more direct disciple of the 
great Danish lyrist. Christian Winther. We know as yet 
little of Runeberg's life, little of the inward development 
of his great powers. A collection of his posthumous 
writings, as well as an exhaustive biography, will be 
welcomed by every lover of his noble verse. 


Thb only iastance in which unfamiliar fo)*ms of culture 
hav^ a claim on public attention is when they are wholly 
original and individual. The development of the ages is 
now too vast for men to spare much time in the study of 
what is merely imitative, and even reproductions of ancient 
phases of art and literature must now be very excellent or 
very vigorous, to succeed in arresting general interest. 
But art is no respecter of persons, and merit in nations, as 
in individuals, is still not measured by wealth or size ; and 
it sometimes happens even in these days that what is most 
worthy of attention is to be discovered in narrow and im- 
poverished circles of men, the light of genius burning all 
the clearer for the atmospheric compression in which it is 
forced to exist. Of modem peoples none has displayed the 
truth of this fact more notably than Denmark, a country 
so weak and poor, so isolated among inimical races, so 
forlorn of all geographical protection, that its very place 
among nations seems to have been preserved by a series of 
accidents, and which yet has been able, by the brilliance 
of the individual men of genius it has produced, to keep its 
distinct and honourable place in the world of science and 
letters during a century and a half of perilous struggle for 



existence. There is not another of the minor countries of 
Europe that can point to names so universally illustrious 
in their different spheres as Orsted, iThorwaldsen, Oehlen- 
schlager, Madvig, H. C. Andersen. The labours of these 
men, by nature of their craft, speak to all cultivated 
persons ; the electro-magnetic discoveries of Orsted tinge 
all modem habits of life; the fairy-stories of Andersen 
make an enchanted land of every well-conducted nursery. 
These men have scarcely influenced thought in their own 
land more strongly than they have the thought of Europe. 
But I purpose here to speak a little of a form of culture 
which has penetrated no less deeply into the spiritual life 
of Denmark, and which by its very nature is restricted in 
its workings to the native intelligence. 

Of all the small nations of Europe, Denmark is the only 
one that has succeeded in founding and preserving a truly 
national dramatic art. One has but to compare it in this 
respect with the surrounding lands of a cognate character, 
vdth Sweden, Norway, Holland, to perceive at once the 
complete difference of individuality. In all these countries 
one finds, to be sure, what is called a Royal Theatre, but 
on examining the rSpertovre one is sure at once to find the 
bulk of acting plays to be translations or adaptations. If the 
popular taste is sentimental, the* tendency will be towards 
Iffland and Kotzebue, tempered with a judicious selection 
from Shakspeare and Schiller ; if farcical, perhaps native 
talent will be allowed to compete with adaptations from 
Scribe, while the gaps will be filled up with vfiudevilles 
and operettas translated from the French, and set on the 
stage purely to give employment to the gregarious multi- 
tude that sing tolerably and act most intolerably. In such 


a depressing atmosphere as this the stage can hardly be 
said to exist; what poetical talent the nation possesses 
pours itself into other channels, and sometimes a theatre is 
found stranded in a position of such hopeless incompetence, 
that it is ready to adopt the masterpieces of the contempo- 
rary English drama. 

But the old dingy theatre that was pulled down in 
Copenhagen in 1874 had another tale to tell than such a 
dreary one. For within its walls almost all that is really 
national and individual in the poetic literature of the 
country had found at one time or another its place and 
voice. Within the walls that now no more will ever dis- 
play their faded roses and smoky garlands to the searching 
flare of the footlights, almost every Danish poet of eminence 
—with the exception of Grrundtvig and Winther, perhaps 
every one — had received the plaudits of the people, and been 
taken personally into the sympathy of the nation in a way 
no mere study-writer ever can be taken. Perhaps this is why 
the Danes preserve such an astonishing personal love for 
their dead poets. Men who had seen the white, sick face 
of Ewald grow whiter under the storms of applause, and 
the long thin fingers press the aching brow in an agony of 
nervous agitation ; the next generation that saw Oehlen- 
schlager, handsome and burly, in his stall, receive the 
plaudits like a comfortable burgess, one of themselves ; the 
younger men that knew the haughty, keen face of Heiberg, 
master of all the best aesthetic culture that his age could give, 
yet a Dane in every feature, and a type to every romantic 
youth of what a Dane should be — ^these men had a sense 
of being a living part and parcel of the national poetic life 
such as no citizens have had save at Athens, and Florence, 


and Weimar ; and their sympathy has been so far wider 
than these, that it was not the emotion of a single circle, 
however brilliant, of a single city, however potent, but of a 
whole nation not potent or brilliant at all, but beating to 
the heart's core with that warm blood of patriotism that 
has sent its men, again and again, to certain, hopeless 
death with cheerful resignation. It is this living force in 
the dramatic art of Denmark that makes it worthy of study. 
No lyric or scenic excellence in native writers, no glitter- 
ing and costly ornament, could have secured to the Royal 
Theatre of Copenhagen the wonderful influence that it has 
had over public life, if it had not in some way been able 
to stand as the representative of the best national life of 
the country. It is this that gives it a unique place in the 
history of the modem drama. In Copenhagen the stage 
has been, what it has not for centuries been in London, 
the organ by which poetry of the highest class speaks to 
the masses. The nearest parallel to the position of the 
Danish Theatre is found amongst ourselves in the new-born 
popularity of concerts of classical music. Just as crowds 
throng to hear the elaborate and delicate harmonies of 
Beethoven and Schumann, till one is set wondering how 
much of this is habit and &shion, and how much apprecia- 
tion of the noblest art, so in Copenhagen is one astonished 
and puzzled to see crowded audiences, night after night, 
receive with applause dramatic poems that take a place 
among the most exquisite and subtle works in the language. 
Nor is the position of the theatre as a means of widely 
poj)ularising the higher culture the only or the main service 
it performs ; it is a school for patriotism. Here the people 
hear their native tongue spoken most purely and most 


beautifully, and the peculiar character of the ablest plays 
on the boards gives the audience an opportunity of almost 
breathing a condensed air of love for the Fatherland. The 
best Danish comedies, the old-fashioned but still popular 
pieces of Holberg, deal almost wholly with life in Copen- 
hagen ; and after the lapse of one hundred and fifty years, the 
satire in them which lashes an affectation of Crerman taste 
and Crerman fashion is as welcome and as fresh as ever ; the 
most popular tragedies are those of Oehlenschlager, almost 
without exception occupied with the mythic or the heroic 
life of early Scandinavia ; the later dramas of Heiberg 
mingle poetic romance with life out in the woods and by 
the lakes of Zealand ; while the farces of Hostrup never 
stray outside the walls of Copenhagen, but point out to a 
keenly-appreciative audience the ludicrous side of the men 
and women that jostle them hourly in the familiar, homely 
streets. In a commimity so small that almost everybody 
knows everybody else, a copious literature studded with 
local illusion becomes as intensely iuteresting to the popu- 
lace as the vers de socUti of a witty poet become to his 
circle of admirers and butts ; and when the interest thus 
awakened is led to concentrate itself on topics of the 
gravest national importance, art approaches its apotheosis, 
and nears the fulfilment of its highest aim. In fact, if 
a foreign power secured Copenhagen and understood the 
temper of the people, its first act would undoubtedly be 
to shut for an indefinite period the doors of the Royal 

The ugly old theatre that has just been pulled down to 
make room for a splendid successor was a disgrace to 
Kongens Nytorv, the handsome central square of Copen- 


hagen, and its area had long been quite unable to offer 
comfortable sitting room to the audience. It was well that 
it should be pulled down and a better house be opened ; 
but in the moment of destruction a thought of 'gratitude 
seemed due to the building that had seen so many triumphs 
of art, so many brilliant poetical successes, and had so large 
a share in the best life ofi the country. It was one of the 
oldest theatres in Europe, having reached the age, most un- 
usual in this class of houses, of one hundred and twenty-six 
years. In Paris, where dramatic art has so lovingly been 
studied, and where the passion for scenic representation was 
so early developed, only two out of the thirty or more 
theatres now open date from the last century — the Theatre 
Franpais from 1782, and the Theatre Porte St. Martin 
from 1781. The latter suffered so severely under the 
Commime in 1871, that it hardly comes into the category. 
Here in London almost all the theatres date, in their pre- 
sent position, from later than 1800, although several of the 
most important occupy the same classical ground as houses 
that have been destroyed by fire. This greatest enemy of 
theatres has wonderfully spared the stage at Copenhagen, 
where the Eoyal Theatre, built in 1784, contrived to last 
till our own day, to undergo the more ignominious fate of 
being pulled stone from stone. 

When Eigtved, the architect, finished it in 1748, it 
was not the eyesore that it had been of late years ; it was 
considered an adornment to that very Kongens Nytorv 
that lately groaned under its hideousness. But the growth 
of the audience, the necessity of more machinery and more 
furniture, at various times obliged the management to 
throw out frightful fungus-growths, to heave up the roof, 


and make all manner of emendations that destroyed the 
last vestiges of shapeliness. It was the first theatre where 
the Danish drama found a firm place to settle in ; and 
after doubtful and dangerous sojourns in Grronnegade and 
other places, this secure habitation was a great step forward. 
It seated, however, only eight hundred spectators ; and 
although the decorations and machinery were so magnifi- 
cent that a performance was announced gratis, merely that 
there might be an opportimity of impressing society with 
a Mercury on clouds, and Night brought on in an airy 
chariot drawn by two painted horses, still a modem 
audience might have grumbled at having to spend an 
evening, or rather an afternoon — for the performances 
began at 5 p.m. — in the old building. The stage was 
lit up by tallow candles, which had to be briskly snuffed 
by a special attendant ; the orchestra could only muster 
ten pieces, and the wardrobe suffered from a complaint 
the most terrible for green-rooms — poverty of costumes, 
Tiie heart and soul of the management was Holberg, that 
most gifted of all Danes before or since, who more than 
any other man has succeeded in lifting his country into 
an honourable place among the nations. If it be true, as 
has been said, that Groethe created for Grermany the rank 
it holds in the literature of Europe, much more true is it 
that Denmark owes to Holberg what rank she has succeeded 
in attaining. This remarkable man played so important 
a r6le in the dramatic life of the early times of which we 
speak, that a few words seem demanded here on his life 
and personal character. He was bom, like so many other 
men who have made a name in Denmark, in Norway, in 
1 684* When he was eighteen he came up to study at the 


HOLBERa. 141 

University of Copenhagen, and, being left almost entirely 
destitute, was thrown on the resources of his own talents. 
Wandering all over the north of Europe, he came at last 
to Oxford, where he lived for two years, studying at the 
University, and subsisting in the meanwhile by teaching 
languages and music. After years of extraordinary adven- 
tures, including a journey on foot from Brussels to Mar- 
seilles, a narrow escape from the Inquisition at Genoa, and 
a return journey on foot from Bome over the Alps to 
^ Amsterdam, he settled in Copenhagen about the year 1716. 
Already a great part of his historical works were written, 
and he gave himself now to law and to philology. His 
name became generally famous in Denmark as that of a 
brilliant writer on the subjects just mentioned, but no one 
suspected that a series of comic poems, published under 
the pseudonym of Hans Mikkelsen, and over which Copen- 
hagen became periodically convulsed with laughter, were 
produced by the grave Professor of Latin Eloquence. From 
1716 to 1722 he successfully preserved his authorship a 
secret from the world ; but when a circle of those friends 
to whom his humorous genius was known besought him 
to try to write for the Danish stage comedies that should 
banish French adaptations from the theatrical repertoire^ 
in assenting he took a place before the public as a comic 
poet which has outshone all his reputation in science and 
history, bright as that still is. Until then Copenhagen 
had possessed a Grerman and a French, but no Danish 
theatre. The first of Holberg's Danish comedies that was 
produced was the ' Pewterer turned Politician ' (' Den 
poUtiske Kandestober '), a piece that recalls somewhat the 
style of Ben Jonson in the ' Alchemist,' but which for the 


rest is so wholly original, so happily constructed in plot, 
so exquisitely funny in evolution, that it is one of the 
most remarkable works ever produced in Scandinavia. 
Had Moliere never lived, the genius of Holberg would have 
proved itself superhuman : but the fact is that the Danish 
poet, in the course of his travels, had had opportunity to 
study the French comedian thoroughly, and had adopted 
the happy notion of satirising affectation and vice in 
Copenhagen, not in the same but in a parallel way with 
that adopted by Moliere in lashing Parisian society. In 
consequence, the series of Holberg's dramas display no 
imitation, but a general similarity of method, while the 
precise nature of the wit is characteristic only of himself. 
These comedies so far belong to the school represented 
among ourselves by Ben Jonson, and in our own day by 
Dickens, that the source of amusement is not found in 
intrigue, nor mainly in the development of the plot, but 
in the art of bringing prominently forward certain oddities 
of character, which in the Shakspearian time were called 
' humours,' Holberg's loving study of the French drama 
preserved him from the temptation of exaggerating these 
studies ofeccentric character into caricature; the odd lines 
are just deepened a little beyond what nature conmionly 
presents, and that is all. These comedies show no signs of 
losing their freshness. They are as popular on the stage 
to-day as they were one hundred and fifty years ago,and com- 
pared with those English plays that just preceded them, 
from Wycherley to Colley Gibber, they appear astonishingly 
modern, and as superior in wit as they are in morality and 
decency ; whereas Holberg's humorous epics and lyrics have 
long ago gone the way of most such writing, and are 


honourably unread in every gentleman's library. The 
thirty Holbergian comedies formed the nucleus of the 
Danish drama. It was in 1722, before the actors had 
found a home in Kongens Nytorv, that the * Pewterer 
turned Politician ' was produced, and the rest followed in 
quick succession. Some remarks in one of them against 
the Grerman tendencies of the ministry then in power had 
the effect of bringing upon Holbergthe displeasure of men 
in authority ; an attempt was made to burn the play 
publicly, together with another peccant book of Holberg's, 
the comic epic of * Peder Paars,' and to punish the author. 
Fortunately, King Frederick IV. took the poet's part, and 
this incident only served to intensify popular interest in 
dramatic representations. • 

When the Royal Company flitted over to Kongens 
Nytorv in 1748, Holberg was the heart and soul of the 
new enterprise. The r&pertoi/re consisted almost entirely 
of his own comedies, and of translations of the best pieces 
of Molidre. He was fortunate enough to secure in 
Clementin and Londemann two interpreters whose tradi- 
tions still cling about the stage, and whose genius, if we 
may trust the reports of contemporary writers, was in the 
highest degree suited to set the creations of the great 
humourist in the broadest and wittiest manner before an 
audience that had to be educated into appreciation. The 
memory of these two men is so far interesting to us, as 
there seems no doubt that it is to them and to their great 
miaster that we owe the chaste and judicious style in acting 
which still characterises the Danish stage. A stranger 
from London or Berlin, we will not say from Paris, is 
struck in Copenhagen by the wonderful reserve and poetical 


repose that characterises the general tone of the acting ; 
no one is permitted to rave and saw the air ; it is preferred 
to lose a little in sensation, if thereby something can be 
gained in completeness. The great merit now-a-days of 
Danish acting is not the supreme excellence of a single 
performance so much as the intelligence of the whole 
company, and the happy way in which all the important 
parts are individually made to build up the general 
harmony of effect. This chastity of art has come down 
as a tradition from Glementin and Londemann, and for 
this, if for nothing else, they deserve a moment's recol- 

In 1771, the Royal Theatre entered upon a fresh and 
fortunate epoch. It became a pensioner of Grovemment, 
and at the same time received its first important enlarge- 
ment. This crisis was simultaneous with two events of 
literary importance. One was the production of the lyrical 
dramas of Johannes Ewald, the poet who composed the 
well-known national hymn. 

King Christian stood by the high mast, 

and who composed, lying on his back in bed, dying, like 
Heine, by inches, some of the masterpieces of Danish 
dramatic literature ; and the other was the production of 
a single play so unique in its character that it is worth 
while to pause a few minutes to discuss it. In the course 
of fifty years, no poet had risen up whose talents in any 
way fitted him to carry on the war against affectation that 
Holberg had fought so bravely and so successfully. The 
comedies of that author, however, still kept the stage, and 
the particular forms of folly satirised by them had long 


ago died and faded into thin air. But affectation has a 
thousand hydra-heads, and if a Hercules annihilate one, 
there are nine hundred and ninety-nine left. The craving 
after Grerman support and German fashion was indeed 
dead in 1772, but another fearful craving had taken its 
place, a yearning after the stilted and beperiwigged 
chivalry that passed for good manners and good taste in 
France, or rather on the French heroic stage. To act in 
real life like the heroes of the tragedies of Voltaire was 
the universal bourgeois ideal in Copenhagen, and to write 
as much as possible in alexandrines the apex of good 
taste. Zaire was the model for a romantic Danish 
lady. This rococo taste had penetrated to the theatre, 
where J^e nobility and the court had introduced it after 
the death of Holberg. Voltaire had been translated and 
imitated with great popular success ; and when the Royal 
Theatre was opened anew after its enlargement, a native 
tragedy by the court poet, Nordahl Brun, was performed 
on the opening night. This production, which out-Alzired 

* Alzire,' was the finishing touch given to the^exotic absur- 
dity. A young man, who had hitherto been known only 
as the president of a kind of club of wits, rose up and with 
one blow slew this rouged and ruffled creature. His name 
was Wessel, and the weapon he used was a little tragedy 
calledi ' Love without Stockings.' The title was quite m, 
rlgle ; * Love without Hope,' * Love without Fortime,' 

* Love without Recompense,' all these are familiar ; and 
why not *Love without Stockings'? The populace 
thronged to see this novelty, and Zaire and Zarine and all 
the other fantastic absurdities faded away in a roar of 
universal laughter. ' Love without Stockings ' is in some 



respects unique in literature. The only thing I know 
that is in any way parallel to it is Lord Buckingham's 
' Behearsal ; ' and it differs from that inasmuch as that, 
while the ' Behearsal ' parodies certain individual pieces 
of Dryden and others, Wessel's play is a parody of a whole 
class of dramas.* ' Love without Stockings ' ! Cannot one 
love without possessing stockings ? Certainly not, answers 
Wessel ; at all events, not in the age of knee-breeches. 
And out of this thought he developes a plot wholly in 
accordance with the arbitrary rules of French tragedy, 
with the three unities intact, with a hero and his friend, a 
heroine and her confidante, with a Fate that pursues the 
lovers, with their struggle against it, their &11 and tragic 
death. And the whole is worked out in the most pathetic 
alexandrines, and with a pompous, ornate diction. At 
the same time, while he adheres strictly to the rules of 
French tragedy, he does so in such a manner as to make 
these rules in the highest degree ridiculous, and to set the 
faults of this kind of writing in the very plainest light. 
The wedding-day of the two lovers has arrived ; all is 
ready, the priest is waiting, the bride is adorned, but alas I 
the bridegroom, who is a tailor, has no stockings, or, at all 
events, no white ones. What can he do ? Buy a pair ? But 
he has no money. Borrow a pair of his bride ? On the one 
hand, it would not be proper ; on the .other, his legs .are 
too thin. But his rival is rich, is the possessor of many 
pairs of white stockings ; the lover fights a hard battle, or 
makes out that he does, between virtue and love — but love 

* Perhaps the closest English analogue is Henry Carey's Dragon of 
Wantley, the fun of which was so potent against the Italian opera in 


prevails, and he steals a pair. Adorned in them he marches 
ofif to the church with his bride, but on the way the 
larceny is discovered, and the rival holds him up to public 
disgrace. For one moment the hero is dejected, and then, 
recalling his heroic nature, he rises to the height of the 
situation and stabs himself with a pocket-knife. The 
bride follows his example, then the rival, then the confi- 
dante, then the friend ; and the curtain goes down on a 
scene in the approved tragic manner. The purity of the 
language, and the exactitude with which not only the 
French dramas, but the Italian arias then so much in 
vogue, were imitated, secured an instant success for this 
parody, which took a place that it has ever since retained 
among the classics of its country. The French tragedy 
fell ; an attempt to put Nordahl Brun's ' Zarine ' on the 
boards again was a signal failure, and the painted Muse 
fled back to her own Gallic home. The wonderful promise 
of * Love without Stockings ' was scarcely fulfilled. 
Wessel wrote nothing more of any great importance, and 
in a few years both he and Ewald were dead. The death- 
blow, however, that the first had given to pompous afifec- 
tation, and the stimulus lent by the second to exalted 
dramatic writing, brought forward several minor writers, 
whose very respectable works have scarcely survived them, 
but who helped to set Danish literature upon a broad and 
firm basis. The theatre in Kongens Nytorv took a new 
lease of vitality, and, after expelling the French plays, set 
itself to turn out a worse cuckoo-fledgling that had mad^ 
itself a nest there — the Italian Opera. This institution, 
with all its disagreeable old traditions, with its gang of 
castrati and all its attendant aliens, pressed hard upon the 



comfort and welfare of native art, and it was determined 
to have done with it. The It'^lians were suddenly sent 
about their business, and with shrill screams brought news 
of their discomfiture to Dresden and Cologne. Then for 
the first time the Eoyal Theatre found space to breathe, 
and since then no piece has been performed within its 
walls in any other language than Danish. When the 
present writer heard Gluck's opera of *Iphigenia in 
Tauris ' sung there some years ago with infinite delicacy 
and finish, it did not seem to him that any charm was lost 
through the fact that the libretto was in a language in- 
telligible to all the . hearers. To supply the place of the 
banished Opera, the Danes set about producing lyrical 
dramas of their own. In the old Hartmann, grandfether 
to the now living composer of that name, a musician was 
found whose settings of Ewald have had a truly national 
importance. The airs from these operas of a hundred 
years ago live still in the memory of every boy who 
whistles. From this moment the Eoyal Theatre passed 
out of its boyhood into a confident manhood, or at least 
into an adolescence which lasted without further crisis 
till 1805. 

It was in that year that the young and unknown poet, 
Adam Oehlenschlager, wearing out a winter in Grermany 
under all the worst pangs of nostalgia, found in the Uni- 
versity Library at Halle a copy of the Icelandic of Snorre 
Sturleson's * Heimskringla.' The event was as full of 
import to Scandinavian literature as Luther's famous 
discovery of the Bible was to German liberty. In Oehlen- 
schlager's own words, he read the forgotten classic as one 
reads a packet of new-found letters from the dearest friend 


of one's youth ; and when he reached ' Hakon Jarl's Saga ' 
in his reading,' he laid the folio aside, and in a kind of 
ecstasy sat down to write a tragedy on that subject, which 
was the firstfruits of a new epoch, and destined tx) re- 
volutionise poetic literature, not in Denmark only, but 
throughout the North. To follow the development of 
Oehlenschlager's genius would take us too far from our 
present inquiry, and belongs rather to the history of poetry 
proper than to that of the Danish theatre. It suffices to point 
out that the real addition to national dramatic art given 
by these tragedies was that the whole subject-matter of 
them was taken from the legendary history of the race. 
Instead of borrowing themes from Italian romance or 
German tradition, this poet took his audience back to the 
springs of their own thought and legend; in the sagas of 
Iceland he found an infinite store of material for tragic 
dramas in which to develop emotions kindred to the 
people in whose language they were clothed, and to teach 
the unfailing lesson of patriotism to a nation that had 
ahaaost forgotten its own mediaeval glories. In place of 
the precious sticklers for the unities, Oehlenschlager set be- 
fore his eyes Shakespeare for a model;- but his worship was 
less blind than that of the German romanticists, and did 
not lead him into extravagances so wild as theirs. In later 
years, when he passed from the influence of Goethe, he fell 
into a looser and more florid style ; but in his earlier dramas 
he is, perhaps, the coldest and most severe playwright that 
has ever succeeded in winning the popular ear.^ So intent 

* There can he no question that the early decadence of Oehlen- 
schlager's genius was mainly due to the absurd excess of laudation 
showered upon him in Denmark. He rose again, for one moment, in 
1842, to the height of his power, in the tragedy of * Dina.' 


was he on insisting on the heroic, primal forms of life, so 
careless of what was merely sentiment and adornment, that 
he presents in one of his most famous tragedies, ' Palnatoke,' 
the unique spectacle of a long drama, in which no female 
character is introduced. It was not intentionally so; 
simply Oehlenschlager forgot to bring a woman into his plot. 
He rewarded the patience of the public by dedicating his 
next play, * Axel and Valborg,' entirely to romantic love. 
The success of this piece on the stage was so great, that, 
as the poet was away from Copenhagen and wished the 
printing to be delayed, large sums were given for MS. 
copies, and a clerk busied himself day after day in writing 
out the verses for enthusiastic playgoers. As it was seventy 
years ago with fashionable people, so is it to this day with 
every boy and maiden. The fame of Oehlenschlager, like 
that of Walter Scott amongst ourselves, has broadened and 
deepened, even while it has somewhat passed out of the 
recognition of the cultivated classes. It is usual now-a- 
days, in good society, to vote Oehlenschlager a trifle old- 
fashioned; but for every thoughtful boy his tragedies are 
the very basis upon which his first ideas of culture are built 
up ; they are to him the sum and crown of poetry, while all 
otlier verses seem but offshoots and imitations ; they are 
to him what bread is among the necessaries of life. He 
measures the other poets that he learns to know, by 
Oehlenschlager, but there is no one by whom he dreams of 
measuring him ; he looks at him as the sun of their planet- 
circle, and he knows nothing yet of any other solar system. 
Just as these tragedies are the foundation of a Dane's edu- 
cation, so for the Danish stage they have always been, and 
will remain, the foundation of eveirything that the theatre 


can ofifer of serious drama, the very cornerstone of the 
whole edifice: and, rightly enough, an ambitious actor's 
first desire is to fit himself for the performance of the 
heroic parts in these, the manner and style being already 
traditional. The strings that Oehlenschlager touched had 
never before been heard in Denmark; he led his audience 
into a world of thought and vision where its feet had never 
stood before, and he spoke in a language that had never 
yet been declaimed from behind the footlights. It was 
not, therefore, wonderful that some years went by before 
a school of actors arose whose powers were adequate to 
the burden of these new dramas, and who could be the 
poet's worthy interpreters. Without such interpreters the 
tragedies of Oehlenschlager might have passed from 
the stage into the library, and their great public function 
never have been fulfilled. But ks early as 1813, in Ryge, 
a man of superb histrionic genius, an actor was found wholly 
worthy to bear the weight of such heroic parts as Hakon 
Jarl and Palnatoke ; some years afterwards Nielsen and his 
celebrated wife began to share this glory, and the palmy 
days of Danish acting set in. Fru Nielsen was the Mrs. 
Siddons of the Danish stage; in her highly-strung sensibi- 
lity, native magnificence of manner, and passionate grace, 
she was exactly suited to give the correct interpretation to 
Oehlenschlager's queenly but rather cold heroines. 

The next event in the Royal Theatre was the intro- 
duction of Shakspeare, but unfortunately he did not 
arrive alone. The newly-awakened sense for what was 
lofty and pathetic sought for itself satisfaction in the 
dreadful dramas of the Grerman * Sturm und Drang Periode,' 
and threatened to lose its reason completely in the rant 


and bluster of melodrama. Again the popular sanity was 
rescued from its perils. We have seen the Danish drama 
created by the comedies of Holberg, and then fall into the 
snare of pseudo-classic tragedy ; we have seen it saved from 
this wrinkled and mincing foe by a single scathing parody, 
and then fall gradually into a condition of tameness and 
triviality. Out of this we have seen it suddenly lifted into 
the zenith of the poetical heavens by the genius of Oehlen- 
schlager; and now we find it tottering dizzily, and ready to 
fall into some humiliating abyss. It does not fall, but is 
carried lightly down into the atmosphere of common life on 
the wings of a mild and homely muse. Hitherto the stage 
had been forced to adapt itself to the poet's caprices ; it found 
in 1825 a poet who would mould himself to its needs and 
exigencies. Heiberg understood how to bring all forms of 
scenic individuality into his service; for the descendants 
of Holberg he provided laughter, for the interpreters of 
Oehlenschlager parts that displayed the mild enthusiam of 
Scandinavian romanticism. Above all he possessed the art 
of setting an audience in good humour at the outset ; his 
most serious dramas had some easy-going prologue, in 
which good, honest Copenhageners found themselves lightly 
laughed at, and their own darling haunts and habits por- 
trayed with a humour that was wholly sympathetic. And, 
having at his hand more than one young composer of en- 
thusiasm and talent, and being from the first a passionate 
admirer of the Swedish airs of Belbnan, he brought music 
and dancing into his plays in a way that the audience found 
ravishing, and that filled the house as it had never been 
filled before. His success combined with it that of his inti- 
mate friend, Hertz, whose southern imagination and passion 


flowed out in plays that brought an element of richness and 
colour into Danish dramatic art that had always been lack- 
ing before. Heiberg's wife became the first actress of her 
time ; and these three friends contrived for a long succession 
of years to hold the reins in all matters regarding the theatre, 
and in measure, also, to govern public taste in general ques- 
tions of art and literature. The two poets are both dead; 
Fru Heiberg still lives in honoured age, the centre still of a 
keenly critical circle. The influence of Heiberg and Hertz 
on popular feeling in Denmark has been extraordinary ; in 
a larger country it could not have been so powerful, being, 
as it was, almost wholly critical and of a peculiarly delicate 
type. The average cultivated Dane now-a-days is very 
much what Heiberg has made him ; that is, one of the 
most refined, fastidious, and superficially cultivated men of 
his class in Europe, but wholly incapable of creating new 
forms of art, and so perfectly satisfied with its past that he 
has no curiosity for its future. The only new class of 
drama produced in Denmark in our own time is the farces 
of Hostrup, pieces that belong to the * cup and saucer ' school, 
and are very much what Eobertson would have written, if 
Robertson had happened to be bom a poet. Let us hope 
that the new house will bring forward new writers, anc^ 
that the period of lethargy and reaction after the last out- 
burst of poetry is nearly over. 

An account of the Danish Royal Theatre would be 
very imperfect without some notice of a form of art which 
borrows no aid directly from poetry, but which has 
developed itself in a quite unique manner at Copenhagen. 
Already in the middle of the last century, under the 
direction of Galeotti, the ballet was made a prominent 


feature on the boards of the Eoyal Theatre ; and from the 
records of that time we learn that it already began to be 
regarded with a seriousness that has hardly been afforded 
to it elsewhere. However, it was not until about fifty 
years ago that it took the peculiar form which it now 
holds, and which gives it a national importance. If one 
can fancy an old Greek in whose brain the harmonious 
dances of a divine festival still throbbed, waking suddenly 
to find himself settled. in this commonplace century as 
dancing-master at the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen, one 
can form some notion of the personality of Bournonville. 
This poet, to whom the gift of words seems to have been 
denied, has retained instead the most divine faculty for 
devising intricate and exquisite dances, and for framihg 
stories of a dramatic kind, in which all the action is 
performed in dumb show, and consists of a succession 
of mingled tableaux and dances. These dumb poems — in 
the severely intellectual character of which the light and 
trivial pettiness of what all the rest of Europe calls a 
ballet is forgotten — are mostly occupied with scenes from 
the mythology and ancient history of Scandinavia, or else 
reflect the classicism of Thorwaldsen, with whose spirit 
Bournonville is deeply imbued. No visitor to Copenhagen 
should miss the opportunity of seeing one of these beauti- 
ful pieces, the best of all, perhaps, being * Thrymskviden ' 
(the ' Lay of Thrym,' a giant king), to which Hartmann 
has set the wildest, most magical music conceivable. 
Certain scenes in this ballet remain on the mind as 
visions of an almost ideal loveliness. The piece is oc- 
cupied with the last days of the ^sir, the gods of heathen 
Scandinavia, against whom, it will be remembered, be- 



trayed by Loki, the Evil God, one of themselves, the 
powers of darkness and chaos rose, and who sank to 
destruction in the nfidst of a general conflagration of the 
universe. When once the natural disappointment that 
follows the discovery of these colossal figures of the ima- 
gination dwarfed to human proportions has subsided, 
the vigour and liveliness of the scenes, the truly poetic 
conceptions, the grace and originality of the dances, 
surprise and delight one to the highest degree ; and the 
vivid way in which the dumb poem is made to interpret 
its own development is worthy of particular attention, the 
insipidity of ordinary ballet-plots giving all the more 
piquancy to the interest of this. 

It cannot be wholly without value to us to be made 
aware of the success of other nations in fields where we 
have been notoriously unsuccessful ourselves. Without 
falling into any of the jeremiads that have only been too 
plentiful of late years, we may soberly confess that our 
own theatres have long ceased to be a school for poetic 
education, or influential* in any way as leaders of popular 
thought or taste. They have not attempted to claim any 
moral or political power; they have existed for amuse- 
ment only, and now, in the eyes of most cultivated 
persons, they have ceased even to amuse. Over the drop- 
scene at the Royal Theatre at Copenhagen there stands in 
large gold letters this inscription : * Ej blot til Lyst ' — 
Tiot Tnerely for enjoyment : and in these simple words 
may be read the secret of its unique charm and the source 
of its power. It has striven, not prudishly or didacti- 
cally, but in a broad and healthy spirit, to lead the 
popular thought in high and ennobling directions. It 


has not stooped to ask the lowest of its auditors how near 
the edges of impropriety, how deep into the garbage of 
vulgarity and slang, how high in the light air of triviality 
it dared to go ; it has not interpreted comedy by farce, 
not turned tragedy into melodrama^ nor dirtied its fingers 
with burlesque, but has adapted itself as far as possible, 
meekly and modestly, to the requirements of the chastity 
of art, and has managed for a century and a half to 
support a school of original actors and a series of national 
plays without borrowing traditions or dramas from its 
neighbours. Denmark is an extremely insignificant 
coimtry ; but that exemplary insect, the ant, is also small, 
and yet the wisest of men deigned to recommend it to 
human attention. 



The revival of romantic poetry in Denmark was almost 
exactly coeval with the movement of Wordsworth and 
Coleridge amongst ourselves, and in each case the intro- 
duction of a somewhat poor and inartistic element from 
Grermany was the immediate cause of the development 
of a rare, vigorous, and many-sided poetic art. In 
Denmark, two Scandinavian exiles brought romanticism 
back with them on their return; of these one was a 
philosopher, Henrik Steffens, the other was a poet, Schack- 
Staffeldt. These persons did for their country not only 
what Coleridge did for England, but what he proposed to 
do. In theory and practice, by stirring lectures and by 
exquisite lyrics, they pointed their countrymen to the 
value of abstract and mystic thought, and in the same 
dreamy spirit to the popular legends and ancient mytho- 
logy of their country.. Steflfens indeed was met by public 
disapproval, but in private discussion he lit the ambition 
of Oehlenschlager and Grimdtvig, and a new epoch com- 
menced. To chronicle the bare facts of the fertile and 
brilliant period that ensued, merely to enumerate works 
of all the romantic poets from Schack-StaflFeldt to Paludan- 
Miiller, would need more than one volume. The eflflo- 
rescence of Danish poetry lasted about half a century, 


from 1800 to 1850, and in this short space of time the 
valuable part of the literature of Denmark was trebled in 
bulk. I have thought it might be of some interest, and 
not unsuited to the limited space at my command, if I gave 
a rapid sketch of the characteristics of four deceased poets, 
widely divergent from one another, each of the highest 
eminence in his own line, and with each of whom it has 
been my privilege to come into some measure of personal 
intercourse. These four were the last * survivors of a race 
of intellectual giants, the tradition of whose prestige will 
long give Denmark an honourable prominence among the 
nations of Northern Europe. 


It was on the last Sunday of July 1872 that I set out 
to hear Bishop Grundtvig preach in the little workhouse 
chapel, called the Vartou, opposite the trees and still 
waters of the western ramparts of Copenhagen. I had much 
desired for some time past to satisfy the curiosity I felt 
to see the oldest poet, certainly, then alive in Europe, but 
my friends were of the orthodox party in the Church, and 
some little difficulty was made. However, the amiability 
of my host overcame his scruples as a rival theologian, 
and we set out together. We found seats with difficulty, 
for the chapel was crowded with communicants, the day 
being of special importance among the sect. After 
sitting more than half-an-hoiir, surrounded by strange 
fanatic faces, and women who swung themselves to and 

^ I do not forget Christian Winther, but regard him as the first of 
a new school, rather than as the last of the old. 

GRUNDTVia. 159 

fro in silent prayer, it seemed to be decided that the 
Bishop was unable to come, and we began to sing hymns 
in the loud, quick, joyous manner invented by the poet, 
and very different from the slow singing in the state 
churches. Suddenly, and when we had given up all hope, 
there entered from the vestry and walked rapidly to the 
altar a personage who seemed to me the oldest man I 
had ever seen. He prayed in a few words that sounded 
as if they came from underground, and then he turned 
and exhorted the communicants in the same slow, dull 
voice. He stood beside me for a moment as he laid his 
hands on a girl's head, and I saw his face to perfection. 
For a man of ninety, he could not be called infirm, but 
the attention was drawn less to his vitality, great as it was, 
than to his appearance of excessive age. He looked like 
a troll from some cave in Norway ; he might have been 
centuries old. 

From the vast orb of his bald head, very long silky 
hair, perfectly white, fell over his shoulders, and mingled 
with a long and loose white beard. His eyes flamed 
under very beetling brows, and they were the only part of 
his face that seemed alive, even when he spoke. His 
features were still shapely, but colourless and dry, like 
parchment. I never saw so strange a head. When he rose 
into the pulpit, and began to preach, and in his dead 
voice warned us all to beware of false spirits, and to try 
every spirit, he looked very noble, but the nobility was 
scarcely Christian. In the body of the church he had 
reminded me of a troll ; in the pulpit he looked more 
like some forgotten Druid, that had survived from Mona 
and could not die. It is rare indeed to hear any man 


preach a sermon at ninety, and perhaps unique for that 
man to be also a great poet. Had I missed seeing him 
then, I should never have seen him ; for he took to his 
bed next day, and in a month the grand old man was 

Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig was bom in 1783, 
at the parsonage of Udby, in the south of Zealand. All 
his relatives were Zealand folk : both on the father's and 
mother's side the family had been Danes of the most 
Danish intensity for long generations. Perhaps this has 
had something to do with his great love of all that is 
national and homely ; of all the Northern writers, not one 
has so exclusively been a man of the people. ^Tien he 
was only nine years old he was sent away to school in Jut- 
land, and while he was here the news came of the execu- 
tion of Louis XVI. The poet was wont to declare that he 
could remember it ; doubtless the great events in France 
were the subject of much excited talk in the tutor's house 
at Tyregodlund. When he was fifteen he was sent to the 
Latin school at Aarhuus, but long before this his mind had 
begun to take in literary impressions. On the wild moors 
of Jutland, he had learned to steal out alone with old 
chronicles and war-songs under his arm, and devour strange 
romances. At Aarhuus he made friends with a little old 
shoemaker, and, sitting by his fireside through the long 
winter nights, heard folk-song after folk-song, and story 
after story. In 1800 he became a student at the Uni- 
versity of Copenhagen, and began to study Icelandic. 
About 1803 he came under the influence of his cousin, 
Henrik Steffens, then a very prominent man just returned 
from Germany fall of Fichte and Schelling, and whose 


lectures on the poetic treatment of themes of popular 
history were a revelation to the young men of the day. 
The works of Steffens are almost fbrgotten now- a-days, but 
in the earliest years of the century he was a power in the 
North of Europe, more by the almost magnetic attraction 
of his personal presence than by any great depth or value 
in his words. 

In a pretty country-house, in the island of Langeland, 
where he was tutor, Grrundtvig now began to throw him- 
self heart and soul into literature. He studied Icelandic, 
that he might make himself master of the ancient sagas ; 
German, that he might revel in Goethe and Tieck; and 
English, that he might stand face to face with Shakspeare. 
But what roused the young Titan more than all was the 
publication of Oehlenschlager's first volume of poems, 
which came to him in his solitude in Langeland, and fired 
him with a new ambition. Henceforth he was a poet, but 
his first two works, though published under the patronage 
of Sahbek, the Maecenas of Danish letters, fell dead from 
the press. But he had many strings to his bow. In 1807 
he published * On Religion and Liturgy,' in which he 
stepped forward as a spiritual reformer, urging the neces- 
sity of a broader spirit in religious matters. The daring 
tone of the book drew people's attention to its author. In 
1808 he appeared before the public in yet another guise, 
as author of * The Mythology of the North,' a first attempt 
at a philosophico-poetical interpretation of the Scandi- 
navian myths, and this was followed by a long epic poem 
of similar drift, * The Decline of Heroic Life in the North.' 
Literary work was carried by him to such an excess that 
in 1810 his nervous system gave way, and the young poet 



had to go home to his father's house to be nursed. Here 
he wrote ' A Short Sketch of the World's Chronicle,' a 
&natical and violent work, which roused a good deal 
of ill-feeling against him. In 1813 his father died, and 
he came to live in Copenhagen. There his literary am- 
bitions blossomed out in the most fervid manner. The 
seven years of his stay in the city are filled with the record 
of ceaseless labour ; he published in that period a great 
mass of poetical, theological, and philosophical works, 
edited and wrote a newspaper, and translated into the best 
Danish, Snorr9 Sturleson, Saxo-Grrainmaticu«, and Beo- 
wulf. In 1821 he came with his newly-wedded wife to 
live at Praesto, a little country town in Zealand, of which 
he had been made pastor ; but the provincial life proved 
unbearable, and in a few months he flitted back to the 

Hitherto his life had been one of constant and well- 
merited success, but now a hand was interposed to stop the 
onward course of victory. It must be confessed that his own 
unwisdom drew it on him. In the University of Copenhagen 
a Dr. Clausen was Professor of Theology ; Grrundtvig, who 
had long passed beyond the romantic theology of Steffens, 
considered Clausen too much addicted to rationalistic 
ideas, and openly, even violently, charged him with heresy. 
The result was a law-suit for libel, and Clausen was suc- 
cessful. Grundtvig was heavily fined, and placed under 
ecclesiastical censure, a ban which was. not removed for 
sixteen years. He retired from publicity in consequence, 
and lived as a private man of letters ; the languages and 
popular literature of the peoples of the North continued 
to be his constant study. He interested himself in Anglo- 


Saxon, and, that he might explore all the streams of that 
language at their fountain-head, he paid four successive 
visits to England. In 1842, especially, when the Trac- 
tarian movement at Oxford was beginning to work so 
powerfully in the English Church, Grrundtvig, who had 
watched the battle from afar, came over to us again, that 
he might study on the spot the various currents of excited 
religious opinion then dividing English society. All this 
while he was not entirely without public influence in theo- 
logical matters ; soon after his disgrace, he sought and at 
last obtained permission to preach in a single church in 
Copenhagen, where he, Sunday by Sunday, declaimed and 
exhorted in his peculiar manner to a select audience of 
disciples. At first his influence was very small, but his 
pupils, if few, were extremely enthusiastic, and his 
doctrines have so far spread as to have formed a sect who 
glory in the name of Grundtvigians, and who comprise 
within their numbers a large proportion of the inhabitants 
of Denmark and Norway, and not a few in Sweden. In 
his later years he has spent much labour in advocating a 
new scheme of education for the peasants, by means of what 
are called Popular High Schools. These schools are carried 
on under Grundtvigian principles, — that is, everything the 
old poet has counselled is carried out on an extravagant 
scale — for he remarked, it is said, that he never was a 
* Grundtvigian ' himself, and never sanctioned half the 
follies that are perpetrated in his name. These High 
Schools are now found all over Denmark and Norway. 
The peasants meet together, men and women, in the 
winter nights, and are taught to read and write, if that 
is needful but chiefly receive oral instruction in the 

M 3 


elements of singing, and above all, study the history of 
their country in Grundtvig's rhythmical chronicles and 
songs. In Denmark the schools are extremely popular, 
and the spirit of hatred towards the * Grerman tyrant ' 
is strongly fostered in them, for every Grrundtvigian is, 
above all things, intensely a Dane. 

In religious matters Grundtvig never divided him- 
self distinctly from the Danish Church; to the last he 
remained within the pale of it. But at the very time 
that he was confuting the neologism of Professor Clausen 
he was developing views at variance with Danish ortho- 
doxy. He opposed the usual view of the inspiration of 
the Bible with great subtlety, and with evident sincerity, 
though his views were neither entirely logical nor entirely 
original. He first made public his convictions at the 
very time when an extremely interesting work of an 
analogous character was appearing in England, the ' Con- 
fessions of an Inquiring Spirit,' by S. T. Coleridge. But 
while Coleridge conscientiously refers to Lessing as the 
suggester of his ideas, Grundtvig was under the impres- 
sion that his own were entirely new. The formula 
upon which all that is peculiar in his teaching rests, is 
that * the Church of Christ is founded on a .word, and not 
on a book J ' and so, without in any way rejecting the 
Bible, he considers it secondary to the Creed, and would 
fain trace this last to the actual oracular word of Jesus. 
If this theory be vague, it is at the same time quite un- 
deniable that Grrundtvig has brought about a great and 
salutary revival in the practical character of the Danish 
Church. He has introduced animated and popular preach- 
ing, hearty singing and frequent communions, with a new 


and excellent hymn-book for general use, in which he 
has superseded the tiresome and conventional pieces of 
the last century in flavour of the stirring and national 
hymns of such ancient poets as Kingo and Brorson. At 
the same time, the most sober-minded theologians looked 
askance at Grundtvig's doctrinal laxities. He was an old 
Pagan at heart, after all, a viking — ^baptized, indeed, and 
zealous for the faith, but dim on all crucial questions of 
dogma. His youth had been wearied by much abstract 
talk about virtue, and it was the conquering power and 
wide-spreading enthusiasm, rather than the morality of 
the gospel, that charmed him. The picturesque and an- 
thropomorphic features of religion delighted him to a 
dangerous excess, and he was not always very sure if it 
were Christ or Baldur for whom he fought. The great 
point was to be always fighting for some pure and personal 
deity. For the Old Testament he scarcely disguised his 
indiflference. His ardour and his glowing passion made 
the common people hear him gladly, but grave theolo- 
gians, such as Dr. Martensen and Dr. Fog, eminent 
divines whose creed was crystallised in systems of 
Christian ethics and Christian dogmatics, always held aloof 
from the rash and emotional schismatic. Grundtvig's 
title of Bishop was only an honorary one ; he never held 
a diocese. 

As a poet, one of the greatest of Scandinavian critics has 
called Grundtvig * the younger brother of Oehlenschlager ; ' 
but he differed greatly from that eminent man, and in- 
deed from all later Danish poets, in being no artist, but 
essentially a fighter, a man of action. He never cared to 
address the polite world of letters ; he wrote poems for the 


people, and in return there is no poet in our time whose 
works have been read and loved in the homes of the 
peasants as his have been. ^ Like a bird in the green- 
wood, I would sing for the eoimtry folks, so that my song 
might pass from mouth to mouth, and give delight froni 
one generation to another. It will be my greatest happi- 
ness, as a child-like poet, if I can write songs that will 
make bare legs skip in the street at the sound of them. 
That shall be called my best poem, my greatest glory and 
memorial, which is the greatest favourite in Danish 
harvest-fields when the girls are binding sheaves. That 
shall be my crowned and accepted poem which inclines 
most girls to the dances at every country wedding.' This 
is, at least, a very intelligible ambition, and a very 
arduous one. It can hardly be said that Grrundtvig has 
the perfect simplicity and repose that such an aim re- 
quires. He is, perhaps, of foreign writers, the one most 
near to Carlyle in temperament. On all sides of his 
genius he was a little too destructive ; he gloried through- 
out his long life in opposing himself to conventional 
forms and conventional aspirations; he even found an 
exhilaration in the mere act of fighting. He was a 
dangerous old literary bersark to the last. Slightly 
altering his own words, we may take them as describing 
his life's course : — 

This hero foUowed not the tide ; 
He dashed the waves of thought aside, — 
Above his hair their wild spray passed, 
But only silvered it at last. 

It was in lyrical composition that he achieved the 

B6DTCHEE. 1 67 

greatest triumphs ; as a lyrist he will always rank high 
among the poets 9f the North, although he lacked the gifts 
of concentration and compression. 


There can never have existed two poets more widely 
difiFerent in genius and disposition than Grrimdtvig and 
Bodtcher, who for nearly eighty years lived as fellow- 
citizens of the same little state. They had almost less 
in common than Bums and Keats ; the first was essen- 
tially a man of action, the second as essentially a dreamer 
and an artist. Ludvig Adolph Bodtcher was bom on 
April 22, 1793, being thus by eight months Shelley's 
junior. When he was a very little child the young 
Oehlenschlager came to act in private theatricals with his 
brothers, and thus in his father's house the boy became 
acquainted with the new romantic literature. Oehlen- 
schlager became his first master in verse, but he soon 
learned to express his very plastic and definite genius 
in his own waj. In 1812 he went to the university, and 
lounged easily through an imeventful student-life in which 
love and verse outweighed the attractions of deep study. 
Early in life his innocent epicureanism asserted itself, 
and when in 1824 his father died, leaving him a small 
jfortune, he did not hesitate an hour, but set oflF at once 
to live in Italy. He settled in Eome ; his rooms looked 
on to the Piazza Barberini, and exactly opposite him 
was Thorwaldsen's studio. For eleven years he received 
at his vdndow every morning the great sculptor's greeting 
from the shining* street below, and he became in time the 


most intimate of all the friends of Thorwaldsen. In liis 
own house he held a little court for Scandinavian poets and 
painters visiting Kome ; and the enjoyable monotony of 
his life was only broken by little excursions into the moun- 
tains or to the Bay of Naples, His favourite spot outside 
Rome was Nemi, the scenery of which inspired several of 
his most exquisite verses. The simplicity and idle ease 
of Rome delighted Bodtcher ; he was able to do exactly 
what he pleased, and in company with Thorwaldsen he 
associated with an extraordinary group of personages. To 
the studio came the King of Bavaria, the ex-King of 
Holland^ Dom Miguel of Portugal, and Napoleon's old 
mother Letitia, while Bodtcher counted among his own 
visitors not these only, but King Frederick VII. of Den- 
mark, Sir Walter Scott, Cornelius and Horace Vernet. 
To study so motley a crew of notabilities was the young 
Danish poet's delight, and he filled up the odd comers of 
his time by polishing to their last perfection one after 
another of his own adorable verses, composing with the 
utmost deliberation and at long intervals. 

In 1835 Thorwaldsen died, and it then became 
apparent that Bodtcher had deserved well of Denmark, 
for it was only by his constant and untiring effort that 
the versatile sculptor had been induced to leave his works 
to his own country. Bodtcher had had to fight the battle 
step by step with the King of Bavaria, who had made up 
his mind to secure the sculptures for Mimich, and who 
could not conceal his displeasure when the poet outwitted 
him at last, by inducing Thorwaldsen to sign the deed of 
bequest. To accompany the precious freight to Copen- 
hagen, Bodtcher tore himself away from Italy. With 


all his late friend's masterpieces around him, he set out 
from Leghorn with a gay ' a rivederla ! ' to the Italian 
coast, which he was not fated to revisit. For finding 
himself once again in Copenhagen, his easy indolent 
nature led him to put off the idea of returning southwards, 
until his life had taken root again in the North. As, 
however, he made a little Denmark around him in Rome, 
so in Copenhagen he contrived to enjoy something still of 
Italy. With his guitar, his roses, his quaint friends, he 
lived his own life without constraint, profoimdly careless, 
because unconscious, of the ' fall of sceptres and of crowns.' 
His philosophy was that of Anacreon, or rather of Omar 
Khayyam : he never vexed himself about his soul ; he 
lived for enjoyment only, but then he enjoyed not merely 
the sunshine, and flowers, and choice wines, but still more 
the conversation of his friends and the diapason of the 
noble poetry of all time. He was no critic, but his range 
of poetic pleasures was very wide, and if he had a fault it 
was foolish indulgence to every needy man of letters who 
sought his help or his sympathy. To Bodtcher went the 
poetess who was ' misunderstood ' at home, and the anti- 
quarian whose researches a cold world derided. In him 
at least they always found an auditor. It did not occur to 
him to publish his own poems until 1856, when he was 
already an elderly man. They fill one slender volume, 
which has been augmented since his death by another still 
more slender. 

Ludvig Bodtcher is one of the most finished poets that 
the North has produced : the entire collection of his works 
is no larger than the poems of Thomas Gray, but almost 
every one of them is a gem, cut and engraved vrith the most 


exquisite precision. In metrical construction Ms lyrics 
have an extraordinary delicacy and shapeliness ; he is the 
most consummate artist in form among the Danish poets. 
His most characteristic pieces unite a kind of dry sparkle 
of humour with the intense light and vivid form of anti- 
quity or of Italian landscape. Among these the longest 
and finest is ' The Meeting, with Bacchus,' a delicious 
' piece of Paganism,' as Wordsworth would have called it. 
The poet leaves the dewy gardens of Frascati in the early 
morning, and on a stout mule climbs towards Monte 
Porcia. The rosy radiance of the morning strikes them 
as they pass the ancient Tusculum, and the smiling poet 
finds that the mule is smiling too. In this joyous mood 
they wend on their way, and the poet falls into a dream, 
in which the lovely modem landscape becomes full of 
antique life. At last, at the side of an old rock-cistern, 
he shouts ' Evoe I ' and starts to hear a triple echo. 
Suddenly he perceives at his side the ancient altar of 
Bacchus, and before him rise a motley group of satyrs. 

' And lo ! in a quiet reyerie beside me, a youth lay stretched upon 
the marble, with a dreamy smile as if his thoughts rekindled the dark 
fires of antique art. 

' The sandal which bound his foot was delicately fastened ; one 
arm supported his head, the other, with a glass in the hand, lay along 
the table naked, as though Phidias had carved it. 

' Mine eyes sank when that youth turned and gazed on me, for 
midnight owns no star so sparkling as his eyes were, and yet my looks 
were chained to thdr clear fires.' ^ 

The youth pours out a cup of wine, and when the poet 
praises it, says coldly, * Non c'e male 1 ' ' Not bad, indeed ! 
show me a better,' cries the guest ; ' Si, Signore ! ' replies 

* Appendix Z. 


the youth, and bids him follow. He leads him to a rustic 
dwelling in the rock, all overgrown with ivy, and leads 
him down into a cellar. He crushes marvellous red 
grapes into a beaker, and the poet lifts up his song 
of praise to Bacchus, while still the youth gravely 


' He lowered the beaker ; there came a cascade of fire^ a murmur 
of vine-leaves, and then all the cavern was filled with a perfume of 
wine, mingled with roses and jasmine. 

' I drank; while my eyes gazed intently heyond the glory and the 
vapour ; the first grew like a magian's lamp, the last became a dim 
yeil of pearl, through which all seemed mistier but fairer than before. 

' It seemed to me that pillars rose from the fioor, and shot out 
marble shoulders, over which a cupola sprang high into the roof, and 
that round the alabaster of the walls the ivy swung in festoons. 

'But such a mist hung round me I then it cleared, and lo ! the 
wine-casks had disappeared, and seven yellow leopards, still and 
severe, lay watching me, with folded paws. 

'Then, reeling with the vision, I turned to the youth that 
brought me thither smiling. He rested, majestic, on a thyrsus, and his 
look was terrible. I fell before him in the dust, and stammered 
" Dionysos ! " ' ^ 

He wakes to find that he has been dosing in the 
wood by the road-side, and that his mule stands patiently 
by him. I cannot hope in this bald sketch to give any 
idea of the form and beauty of a poem that approaches 
as near perfection as modem verses can. This is perhaps 
the finest of Bodtcher's lyrics, though there are several 
others that in precision and originality, — ^in the qualities 
of a cameo or an intaglio, clear form carved in colour, — 
come very near it. 

I had the privilege of being presented to this charming 

* Appendix AA. 


old man and divine poet, during the last year of his life. 
He was living in Svsertegade, a little street in Copenhagen, 
where he occupied rooms high up the house, close under 
the sky. I was introduced by an esteemed Mend of his, 
and the singularly genial and gentle manner of his welcome 
put me at my ease with him at once. His sitting-room 
was thoroughly in keeping vdth his character. It was 
filled with works of art and memorials of his life in 
Italy. Behind his arm-chair stood Bissen's bust of the 
poet when he was a yoimg and handsome man. It could 
not be said of .him at eighty-one that he was otherwise than 
pleasant-looking, although the loss of one eye was a 
marked disfigurement. He wore dark spectacles, and a 
snufiF-coloured wig ; his figure was tall and spare, his fore- 
head very full at the temples ; and his mouth had 
evidently been large and sensitive, like Keats's. His one 
bright eye was still of an extraordinary brilliance and 
vivacity. It was tlie first year, he explained to me, that 
he had not been able to get out into the beech-woods on 

* Pinsedag ' or Whitsunday, a day on which Copenhagen 
is always deserted, and the forests are filled. It was on 
Whitsunday that we visited him, and the old gentleman 
was a little inclined to be mournful about it. But he 
cheered up as the sun came out and lighted into intense 
pale green the young leaves of a beech-tree, in a pot 
which filled the window, flanked by two rose-bushes. 

* Ah ! ' he said, ' the sun through the leaves is as good as a 
flower to me, and when you are gone, I shall sit for the 
rest of the day and dream of the woods.' He talked 
readily of his friendship with Thorwaldsen, and chuckled 
as he recounted the oft-told tale of how he outwitted the 

bOdtcher. 173 

King of Bavaria. While he talked he sat on a forhoining, 
or raised platform in the window ; his restless eye seemed 
all the while to follow something, and presently I dis- 
covered that opposite him an oblique mirror allowed him 
to watch the life passing in the street below. On the 
wall behind him hung his guitar ; of his carpet he used 
to say that it was very costly, when you considered how 
many of the best cigars had to be consumed over it 
before it got so rich a colour, from the descending 
smoke ; every object in the room had its particular anec- 
dote or association connected with it ; each could only 
have belonged to Bodtcher, and the gentle epicurean 
seemed not the least precious or the least antique of the 
objects of art. 

His smile was sweet and hmnorous — such a smile as 
Charles Lamb might have given a visitor in his happiest 
and quietest hours. It was on the 25th of May 1874 that I 
had the pleasure of this welcome ; next day I received a 
little note and the poet's photograph. In July he sent 
me a kind greeting in a letter from Christian Winther, 
and on the 1st of October of the same year he died, after 
one day's illness. To the very last he clung to his old 
habits, singing his own songs in a feeble broken voice, 
and playing meanwhile on the guitar. He left behind 
him the fragrant memory of a long life, in which there 
was no sadness or baseness, but in which art and an affec- 
tionate nature were self-8u£5cient to the close. 


There was no man of genius in Europe so accessible 
as Hans Christian Andersen. Whether in his own house 


in Havnegade, or in the country at Eolighed, where his 
friends the Melchiors had fitted up rooms for him, he 
was at the service of any visitor who brought with him 
the pass-word of enthusiasm and respect. He delighted 
in publicity, and responded to the sympathy of strangers 
with the utmost alacrity. I saw him in 1872, and again 
in 1874, and he did me the honour to write to me 
frequently between the earlier date and his death. Yet, 
although he accepted me at once into his intimacy, I can- 
not pretend that I have anything very characteristic to 
add to the published memorials of one of the most singular 
persons of our time. For Andersen throughout his long 
literary life never scrupled to make the world his con- 
fidante, and that with the utmost sincerity ; so that his 
friends could but testify to the minute fidelity of his 
portrait of himself. It is true that that portrait is not to 
be found complete in those stories for children, which are 
chiefly associated with his name in the mind of the 
English public. We have to read the * Eomance of My 
Life,' and his chatty, egotistic books of travel, to realise his 
character, but in these it is drawn as firmly and coloured 
as richly as if Titian had survived to paint his features. 

The passion for hoarding up little treasures of every 
kind — pebbles that friends had picked up, leaves that had 
been plucked on a certain day, odd mementoes of travel 
and incident — ^was always strongly developed in Andersen. 
He hated to destroy anything, and he dragged about with 
him, from one lodging to another, a constantly increasing 
store of what irritable friends were apt to consider rubbish. 
In like manner, he could not endure to tear up paper with 
writing upon it, even if that writing were disagreeable 


or derogatory to his dignity. Hence, when his executors 
began to examine the piles of MS. that the poet had left 
behind him, they came upon such a mass of correspondence 
as few eminent persons can ever have bequeathed. Most 
people are glad to destroy any letter in which their 
own conduct is sharply criticised or in which reproof is 
administered to an obvious fault. But it was part of the 
crystal innocence of Andersen's character, than whom a 
simpler or a purer creature never breathed, to preserve 
with the utmost impartiality the good and the evil, the 
praise of his friends and their blame. Consequently, 
there is little need of personal memorials of Andersen. 
In his writings we can trace every change of tempera- 
ment, every turn afld whim of this guileless and trans- 
parent mind. 

Few English people, perhaps, are aware how numerous 
and how versatile are the writings of Andersen. He at- 
tempted almost every form of authorship in the course of 
his long life. He was bom on April 2, 1805, at Odense, 
in the Danish island of Fun^n. His father, a poor shoe- 
maker, whose love of books and book-learning made him 
discontented with his trade, died in the poet's early 
childhood, and until his confirmation Andersen was left 
in the charge of his mother, an ignorant and superstitious 
but kindly person. . Until Andersen's death the true 
raciness and originality of her mind were unknown ; but 
her letters to her son, which then came to light, prove 
her to have been, in shrewdness, wit, and sense, worthy to 
be the mother of a great man. Except during the few 
hours' wretched instruction at the Poor School, he was 
chiefly occupied with a little theatre of marionettes, on 


which he brought out various pieces, generally of his own 
composition. This early taste for theatrical pursuits was 
nourished in the child by a visit paid to Odense by some 
of the company of the Eoyal Theatre of Copenhagen. 
The actors gave special performances, and on these 
occasions Andersen managed to get on the boards and 
mix with the supers. After this, of course, the Copen- 
hagen stage was the great aim of his life. After his 
confirmation in the autumn of 1819, he travelled up to 
the capital to try his fortune, and entered the dancing 
and singing school at the theatre ; but it soon became 
plain that he had no histrionic talent, and when his voice 
broke he was obliged to leave. However, he had managed 
. to awaken interest in several very distinguished men — 
in Collin, Eahbek, ^he Oersteds, Baggesen, Weyse, and 
Siboni — ^and by their efforts he obtained a free entrance 
into the Latin school at Slagelse ; when the rector of the 
school, the learned Meisling, was transferred to the 
college at Helsingor, he took Andersen with him. Mei- 
sling, however, though learned, was unsympathetic, and 
without understanding at all what was great and lovely 
in Andersen's character, made his eccentricities the object 
of untiring ridicule. The young man who had already 
written ' The Dying Child,' and appeared as a poet, in 
1827, in such influentialjoumalsasthe 'Kjobenhavnspost' 
and Heiberg's * Flyvende Post,' could at last bear this no 
longer, and came back to Copenhagen, where L. C. MoUer 
introduced Mm into the University in 1828. The year 
after he published his first important work, ' A Journey on 
Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of Amager,' 
and the same year had produced, on the boards of the 


fioyal Theatre, 'Love on St. Nicholas' Tower,' a comic 
vaudeville in rhymed verse, which parodied the romantic 
dramas of the day; during the ensuing Christmas season 
appeared his first collection of poems, of which several 
already had attained considerable notoriety in the ' Fly- 
vende Post.' In 1830 Andersen made the first of many 
travels, a tour in Funen and Jutland, and in 1831 
published a volume of ' Fancies and Sketches,' which was 
not so well received as his earlier works, and was es- 
pecially cut up by Hertz in his pqwerful ' Gjenganger- 
Breve.' This want of success, a blighted lov^ experience, 
and other misfortunes threw Andersen into a painful 
condition of despondency, and he was ordered to travel 
for his health. He went to Germany, and published on 
his return ' Shadow-Pictures of a Tour in the Hartz and 
Saxon Switzerland.' In 1832 appeared his ' Vignettes of 
Danish Poets,' and a new volume of poems entitled ' The 
Twelve Months of the Year.' He was lucky enough to 
receive a draft of money for travelling from the Govern- 
ment in the spring of 1833, and proceeded to Paris, 
where he met the enfeebled and almost bUnd P. A. 
Heiberg. Later in the year he was in Eome, where he 
fell in with Thorwaldsen and Bodtcher, and with his own 
great opponent. Hertz. In the summer of 1834 Andersen 
returned to Copenhagen, where in the meantime his 
beautifcd dramatic poem *Agnete and the Merman,' 
which he had sent home firom Switzerland, had appeared. 
After his return was. published in 1835 his exquisite 
romance ' The Improvisatore,' which he had commenced 
in Borne, and in which he sketches the life of the country 
folk in Italy, as in his next romance, * O. T.,' which came 



out the year after, he sketches the same in Denmark. 
But in the meantime, by the publication of his first 
volume of ' Eventyr,' or ' Fairy Tales ' in 1 835, Andersen had 
laid the foundation of his immense reputation, and the 
successive series of these stories, unapproached in modem 
literature for depth, pathos, and humour, continued to 
appear Christmas by Christmas, the most welcome gift 
to young and old. In 1852 they ceased to be entitled 
' Eventyr ' and were called ' Historier.' To the same 
class belongs the inimitable * Picture-Book without Pic- 
tures,' 1840. To his novels Andersen added in 1848 
'The Two Baronesses.' In 1837 came 'Only a Player.' 
Another novel was 'To be or Not to be.' In 1853 
Andersen published his own autobiography, under the 
title of ' My Life's Romance.' As a dramatic author he 
has also shown no small genius, though this is not the 
most brilliant side of his life's work. The romantic 
dramas of ' The Mulatto,' 1840, and ' The King is Dream- 
ing,' 1844; the romantic operas of 'Little Christie,' 
1846; 'The Wedding by Lake Como,' 1848; with 
certain small comedies, especially 'The New Lying-in 
Room ' (' Den ny Barselstue ; ' Barselstuen being a very 
popular piece by Holberg), 1845, attained very marked 
success at the Royal Theatre, which was also the case 
with the fairy comedies, ' More than Pearls and Grold,' ' Ole 
Lukoie ' and ' Hyldemoer,' which were brought out in 1849, 
1860, and 1851 respectively at the Casino Theatre at 
Copenhagen. Andersen was incessantly moving hither and 
thither over the Continent of Europe, and on one occasion 
he crossed the Mediterranean Sea. The results of his ob- 
servations were given to the public in a variety of chatty 


and picturesque volumes, of which the most characteristic 
were * A Poet's Bazaar,' 1841 ; ' In Sweden,' 1849 ; and 
^n Spain,' 1863. 

Andersen's nature craved the excitement of travel, and 
wherever he went he made himself acquainted with the 
prominent literary people of the place. There is no doubt 
that this personal habit helped his genius to make itself 
heard outside the borders of Denmark sooner than it 
would otherwise have done, but this has also been greatly 
exaggerated in Denmark, where some unworthy but not 
inexplicable jealousy was felt of the ubiquitous poet who 
carried his fame over Europe with him. It is well known 
that Andersen was a visitor of Dickens's at G-adshill ; two 
years earlier he had been Wagner's guest in Berlin, and 
almost every literary or artistic man of eminence in 
Europe received a visit from him at one time or 
another. In 1861 he was at Rome just in time to see 
Mrs. Browning before her death, and to receive from her 
the last stanzas she ever wrote : — 

' And oh ! for a seer to discern the same t ' 

Sighed the South to the North. 
' For a poef 8 tongue of baptismal flame, 
To call the tree or the flower by its name ! * 

Sighed the South to the North. 

The North sent therefore a man of men 

As a grace to the South, 
And thus to Home came Andersen. 
' Alas, but you must take him again ! ' 

Said the South to the North : 


verses which the old poet was never tired of repeating in 
his broken English. 

Among all his multitudinous writings, it is of course 

K 2 


his so-called Fairy Tales, his ' Eventyr,' that show most 
distinctly his extraordinary genius. No modem poet's 
work has been so widely disseminated throughout the 
world as these stories of Andersen's. They aflfect the 
Hindoo no less directly than the Teutonic mind; they 
are' equally familiar to children all over the civilised 
world. It is the simple earnestness^ humour, and tender- 
ness that pervades them, their perfect yet not over-subtle 
dramatic insight, their democratic sympathy with all things 
in adverse and humble circumstances, and their exquisite 
freshness of invention that characterise them most, and 
set them on so lofty a height above the best of other 
modem stories for children. The style in which they are 
composed is one never before used in writing ; it is the 
lax, irregular, direct language of children that Andersen 
employs, and it is instructive to notice how admirably he 
has gone over his earlier writings and weeded out every 
phrase that savours of pedantry or contains a word that a 
child cannot learn to understand. When he first wrote 
these stories he was under the influence of the German 
writer Musaeus, and from 1830 to about 1835 he was 
engaged in gradually freeing himself from this exotic 
manner, and in bringing down his style to that perfection 
of simplicity which is its great adornment. 

In character, Andersen was one of the most blameless 
of human creatures. A certain irritability of manner that 
almost amounted to petulance in his earlier days, and 
which doubtless arose from the sufferings of his childhood, 
became mellowed, as years went on, into something like 
the sensitive and pathetic sweetness of a dumb ahimaL 
There was an appeal in his physical appearance that 


claimed for him immunity from the rough ways of the 
world, a childlike trustfulness; a tremulous and confiding 
affectionateness that threw itself directly upon the 
sympathy of those around. His personality was somewhat 
ungainly : a tall body with arms of very unusual length, 
and features that recalled, at the first instant, the usual 
blunt type of the blue-eyed, yellow-haired Danish peasant. 
But it was impossible to hold this impression after a 
moment's observation. The eyes, somewhat deeply set 
under arching eyebrows, were full of mysterious and 
changing expression, and a kind of exaltation which never 
left the face entirely, though fading at times into reverie, 
gave a singular charm to a countenance that had no pre- 
tension to outward beauty. The innocence and delicacy, 
like the pure frank look of a girl-child, that beamed from 
Andersen's face, gave it an unique character hardly to be 
expressed in words; notwithstanding his native shrewd- 
ness, he seemed to have gone through the world not only 
imdefiled by, but actually ignorant of its shadow-side. 
The one least pleasing feature of his character was his 
singular self-absorption. It was impossible to be many 
minutes in his company without his referring in the 
naivest way to his own greatness. The Queen of Timbuc- 
too had sent him this; the Pacha of Many Tails had 
given him such an Order ; such a little boy in the street 
had said, * There goes the great Hans Andersen I ' These 
reminiscences were incessant, and it was all the same to him 
whether a little boy or a great queen noticed him, so long 
as he was favourably noticed. If, however, the notice was 
unfavourable, he was inconsolable for the time being, and 
again in this case it mattered nothing from what source 


the censure came. The Norwegian poet Welhaven used 
to relate that he was once in a Copenhagen coffee-house 
with Andersen, when the latter, glancing at one of the 
lowest and most ribald prints of the hour, became sud- 
denly excessively agitated. With trembling hands he 
pointed out to Welhaven a passage in which some 
miserable penny-a-liner had pointed a coarse jest with an 
allusion to Andersen's appearance. ' Is it possible,' 
Welhaven asked, ' that you, with a European reputation, 
care what such a man says of you in such a place?' 
' Yes,' replied Andersen, with tears in his eyes, ' I do — a 
little 1 ' This intense craving for perpetual laudation, no 
matter from whom, was an idiosyncrasy in Andersen's 
character not to be confounded with mere vulgar vanity. 
It sometimes assumed really magnificent proportions, as 
when he once said to a friend of mine, an old friend of his 
own, in deprecation of some fulsome praise from abroad, 
'It is true that I am the greatest man of letters now 
living, yet the praise should not be to me, but to God 
who has made me so.' It was a strange and morbid 
characteristic, to be traced, no doubt, to the distressing 
hardships of his boyhood. It was harmless and guileless, 
but it was none the less fatiguing, and it was so strongly 
developed that no biographical sketch of him can be 
considered fair that does not allude to it. During his 
lifetime, it would have been inhuman to vex his pure 
spirit by dwelling on a weakness that was entirely beyond 
his own control; but it is only just to his own country- 
men, who have been so harshly blamed for their want of 
sympathy with him, to mention the fact which made 
Andersen's constant companionship a thing almost in- 


tolerable. In a small community like that of Copenhagen, 
a little personal peculiarity of this kind is not so easily 
overlooked as in a wider circle. 

He passed peacefully away at eleven o'clock on the 
morning of August 4, 1875. He died just outside the 
northern suburb of Copenhagen, at Eolighed, in the arms 
of a family who had devoted themselves for years to the 
care of their eminent guest ; here he fell asleep, in the 
truest sense, for out of a mild and peaceful slumber of 
many hours' duration, he never awoke. He had been 
suffering acutely and hopelessly from a complaint that 
now proved to have been cancer, and for some years past 
his life had been one of ceaseless suffering, patiently and 
even, heroically borne. Four months before the end he 
had completed his seventieth year, and in the festivities 
of that day he had been able in great measure to join. 
He could never rally from the relapse brought on by the 
excitement of this birthday, which was celebrated by the 
whole nation, from the royal family downwards, as a 
public holiday. He had the joy of receiving the greatest 
honour a poet can take from his country, the erection of a 
statue which will remind all coming generations of his 
outward form and feature, and having lived to receive this 
glory, not from one man or one clique of men, but from 
all Denmark, it was permitted him to rest from his suffer- 
ing. He could not have died at a moment when his 
fame, spread from one end of the world to the other, was 
more living than it is now, and in dying he took from 
among us the most popular of all contemporary writers of 
the imagination. It is said that the very last literary 
subject in which he took interest was the history and 


work of his own great predecessor, the Hindoo fabulist, 
Bidpai, and the best books on that writer lay strewed upon 
his death-bed. 


So many poets came up to the University of Copenhagen 
in 1828, that some wit dubbed them the four greater and 
the twelve minor prophets. This classification caused a 
great deal of amusement at the time, and is still re- 
membered because Hans Christian Andersen happened to 
be one of the major prophets, and Paludan-Miiller to be 
one of the minor. The minor prophet, indeed, lived to 
see himself easily first among the children of Parnassus in 

Frederik Paludan-Miiller was the third son of fa 
remarkable man, Jens Paludan-Miiller, who died as Bishop 
of Aarhuus, and who became &mous after his death as a 
theological writer of much vigour. Each of his sons 
became distinguished in one way or another. Frederik, 
the poet, was bom at Kjerteminde, a little town in Funen, 
on February 7, 1809. He went to school at Odense in 
1820, a few months after Andersen — poor little forlorn 
adventurer that he was — left that city for the capitaL In 
1832 he wrote four romances, in the hope of gaining a 
prize offered by the Society of Fine Arts. He was un- 
successful, but the romances, which were published, 
attracted attention. The same year he brought out a 
romantic drama, ' Love at Court,' which had a considerable 
run, and still holds the stage. But when, in 1833, he 
printed his delicious poem of ' The Dancing Girl,' with 


all its profusion of wit, pathos, and melody, his position 
as^ a poet was made. In 1834 he opened a new 
poetic vein, since admirably worked by Swinburne 
amongst ourselves, and by Paid Heyse in Germany, with 
his lyrical drama of ' Amor and Psyche,' a work displaying 
stilistic gift of the first order, and which produced much 
such a sensation in Copenhagen as, thirty years later, 
attended ' Atalanta in Calydon ' with us. At this point 
he began to go a little wrong; his next production, a 
story in rhyme, called 'Zuleima's Flight,' being tinged 
with Byronisms and other inscrutable insipidity. The two 
volumes of * Poems,' however, in 1836 and 1838, redeemed 
his reputation. All this time the poet had been quietly 
working away at his literary and juridical studies, and 
had attained his thirtieth year with no more exciting 
experience than could be contained in a walking-tour 
through the north of Zealand. He set out, however, in 
1838, for a two years' wandering over Europe ; he only once 
left Denmark again. The life of such a hermit is but a 
catalogue of his works. In 1841 he published his lyrical 
drama of ' Venus,' and the first part of * Adam Homo,' an 
epic which it is customary to mention as his masterpiece. 
In 1844 appeared the noble drama of ^Tithonus' and the 
delicate idyl of ' The Dryad's Wedding.' His later pro- 
ductions were the conclusion of 'Adam Homo,' 1848; 
« Abel's Death,' 1854 ; ' Kalanus,' 1857 ; ' Paradise,' 1861 ; 
* Spirits of Darkness in the Night,' 1862 ; *Ivar Lykke's 
Story,' a prose novel; 'The Times are Changing,' a 
comedy, 1874 ; and ' Adonis,' 1874. In the face of such a 
barren list of titles, the curse of Babel does indeed become 
a burden. It is useless to recommend the reader to the 


books themselves, and how is a weary critic to persuade 
him of the value of their contents? This, however, I 
shall presently attempt to do. 

In 1872 Paludan-Miiller was living in one of a little 
group of houses in the Eoyal Park of Fredensborg, on the 
left-hand side in driving up to the palace. It would be 
difficult to secure a more poetic situation. The great 
undulating park extended on all sides, with its classic 
solitude, its rich hoard of memories from the last century, 
and its delicious greensward swept by the long boughs of 
the beeches. From the back of the poet's house, the park 
sloped away to the Esrom Lake, the most beautiful of all 
the beech-surrounded meres of North Zealand. There, in 
the most exquisite silence, broken only by the sound of a 
deer that came down to drink, the poet could watch from 
dawn to gloom 

The lake-reflected sun illume 
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom. 

The court was never at Fredensborg, except for a little 
time in the summer, /ind its idyllic quiet was imbroken. 
The old palace was always there to remind the wanderer, 
with its clean white walls and green cupola, of the beperi- 
wigged gentlemen and bepatched ladies that had flirted 
down its smooth arcades. The place fostered the morbid 
melancholy of Paludan-Miiller, and yet it possessed that note 
of refinement and personal elegance which he would have 
missed in a retreat more purely sylvan. When I saw him 
first he had not received a stranger for years ; he asked pardon 
for his manifest agitation, as some veritable Eobinson Crusoe 
might do in suddenly re-viewing a European face. But 


he was then at the very point of recovering from his strange 
melancholy illness, and so far woke up to new Ufe that he 
proposed to me a series of early morning walks, and at last 
conceived it possible that he might journey to London. This 
he never contrived to do, but he returned to Copenhagen 
and to society, and when I saw him again in 1874 he was 
looking ten years younger. He had a singularly fine and 
spiritual face, the eyes large and clear, the hair silvery 
when I knew him, but deep yellow in earlier life. In 
speaking he expressed himself with emphasis, and in some 
eases a little too dogmatically for modem habits of thought, 
and he had but slight personal sympathy for his con- 
temporaiies. I was full of enthusiasm for the Norwegian 
poet, Ibsen, and spoke of him on one occasion to Paludan- 
Miiller, but he confined himself to a rather cynical con- 
demnation of the close of ' Brand.' It was evident that 
he found no place in art for anything but the ideal beauty 
of which he was himself so exquisite an exponent. His 
adoration for the memory of his father was a very marked 
point in his character; in a review of one of his books 
I had especially indulged this pious foible in order to 
please him, and he recollected it two years afterwards with 
vehement commendation. The news of his death was a 
great surprise to his friends, for he had regained an un- 
wonted vigour in 1874 and 1875. .But the winter of 
1876, that was fatal to Christian Winther, was fatal also 
•to him, and within three days ; for while the latter died on 
December 30, Paludan-Miiller died on December 27, 1876. 
There can be little doubt, that posterity will judge 
* Adam Homo ' to be its author's greatest claim to a place 
among poets of the first class. This epic, in ottava riToa, 


is the history of a single man, a Dane in the Denmark of 
the poet's day, from his cradle to his grave. The hero is 
a Philistine of the Philistines, but his character is worked 
out with an irony so subtle, that we begin by sympathising 
with the man that we end in ridiculing and despising. 
The poem is full of great and original qualities ; humour 
and satire give place in rapid interchange to descriptive 
and pathetic passages of the most delicate beauty. Dr. 
Brandes, in his brilliant volume on the modem Danish 
poets ('Danske Digtere,' 1877), a work no Scandinavian 
student should be without, has very justly said of * Adam 
Homo,' that it is * a piece of Denmark, a piece of our 
history, a piece of living cloth cut out of the web of time.' 
But to the foreign reader it certainly lacks the cosmo- 
politan interest of the writer's lyrical dramas. Of these the 
greatest is, without doubt, ' Kalanus,' and I cannot give a 
better idea of the genius of Paludan-Miiller, than by an 
analysis of this noble poem. 

The scene is laid far back in heroic times, when the 
great presence of Alexander overshadowed the ancient 
world, and the story of his patience, and his labour, and his 
glory was in the mouth of all men living. Kalanus, an 
Indian, bom by the Ganges, and brought up in p, temple 
of Brama, has been living in the hills near the sources of 
the Indus, as a solitary mystic, worshipping the Invisible 
Unity whom men call Brama. Day after day, kneeling 
by the river-side among the palms, he has prayed and 
longed for a manifestation of the incarnate Godhead. 
Bom about the same time as the son of Philip of Macedon, 
his life has been spent in the silence of unbroken devotion, 
tended by his old mother and a faithful slave. Meanwhile, 


Alexander has driven like a tempest through the world, 
achieving the ultimate possible aim of an active sensuous 
nature. To Kalanus in his mystical existence of almost 
supernatural calm comes the glorious Alexander, saiUng up 
the Indus with his fleet; the mybtic had been praying 
most importunately for the divine vision- 

There by the prow I saw him stand, 
With hehnless hair, and like the morning sun I 
His lotus-eyes flashed beams of radiance round ! 
For ever all my heart and soul are his ! 

In absolute faith that this is Brama, he forces himself into 
Alexander's presence. The conqueror, pleased with his 
enthusiasm, invites him to join his train, and forthwith 
Kalanus, his old mother, and all their small possessions, 
are moving with the Greek army in its westward retreat. 
The first important halt is at Pasargadse, in Persia, and 
here the play opens and continues to the end. 

The first act begins with a fine symphony that strikes 
the key-note of the whole play at once. Kalanus and his 
mother are saluting the rising sun with their song of morn- 
ing prayer, that their pure souls may rise with his into the 
ethereal kingdom of the Truth, losing body and senge in 
the perfection of the soul. This is the day on which 
Kalanus is to have audience of Alexander, and he coimts 
the hours till the splendid moment shall arrive. Sankara^ 
his mother, who knows nothing of his conviction, is troubled 
by his sudden pas sion for t Grreat King, and asks its 
cause. ' Why,' she asks, * is the clear flame of thy devo- 
tion, which no wind could move, now become a quivering 
tongue of imsteady fire ? Has the sight of one man so 
changed thee ? ' Then he unfolds to her his new-bom faith. 


that this hero, that man called Alexander, is no other than 
the universal Brama made flesh to visit humanity. To his 
dazzled and inexperienced imagination all things seem to 
point to this one goal, and his intensity easily wins Sankara 
to his view. Most subtly is the growth of this new faith, 
bom of desire and introspection, and fed by distance from 
its object, sketched by the poet in Kalanus' confession to 
his mother ; we are won into love and respect for the mild 
mystic at once, and the dreamier his speculations are, the 
more musical is his expression of them. Passing over some 
side-scenes of great interest, we move on to the meeting of 
Kalanus and Alexander. The Indian approaches the palace 
as if it were a sanctuary, but his soul has no fear of the 
divinity ; all his nature is absorbed in that pure love that 
casts out fear ; he will at last wind his frail humanity round 
the omnipotent deity, as the ivy curls round the straight 
stem of the cocos-palm. Alexander meets him with the 
light patronage of an emperor at his ease, rallying 'Kalanus 
good-naturedly on his reticence and gloom, but saying no- 
thing so obviously mortal as to shake the Indian in his 
confidence. Presently the conversation turns on those 
questions of divine ethics which are nearest to the heart of 
Kalanus. The reticence of the mystic melts in the fiery 
heat of his own ecstasy, and pours itself along the channels 
of Alexander's activities and aims, so strange to him. 
His soul overflows with the sudden accession of new 
thoughts and new desires, and the king, becoming deeply 
interested in his impassioned admirer, adopts a seriousne^ 
unusual to him, and exerts his great and masculine intelli- 
gence in presenting new ideas of energetic action to the 
passive Indian. The soul of Kalanus, in his own esteem, 


now first wakes into full bloom of thought ; this one 
interview with the divine though concealed Brama has 
effected it, — 

As in my country, after one night* s rain, 
The desert blossoms with a million flowers ; 

— and he throws himself into the dust in adoration. 

The beginning of the next act is occupied with the 
humours of two Grreek philosophers — Mopsos, a sensual 
atheist and scoffer ; Pyrrhon, a troubled doubter — who 
argue, and after a while combine to cross-question Kalanus 
and to trouble his pure soul, unused to such a spirit of 
false philosophy. To Mopsos the enthusiasm of Kalanus 
for the king is merely the cringing of a toady ; to Pyrrhon, 
it is a mystery of genuine belief almost incredible in its 
novelty. Alexander and HephsBStion join the three, and 
Kalanus once more basks in the sunlight of Brama's sup- 
posed presence. All minor vexations are lost in the joys 
of adoration. The progress of this long scene is in the 
highest degree masterly; the five characters are drawn 
with a firm and vigorous hand, and the interest, though of 
a purely intellectual character, is sustained and heightened 
to the end. Kalanus, whose utterances during his season 
of complete conviction were conspicuous for harmony, be- 
comes more and more fragmentary and discordant as Alex- 
ander, in the easy neighbourhood of friends, slips into a 
frivolous vein of badinage that is most unlike the spirit 
of Brama. As the wine heats his brain, Alexander becomes 
still more jocose, and orders Kalanus to dispute with 
Mopsos on philosophical questions ; the Indian, struggling 
against his own dejection, obeys. The selfish scepticism 
of Mopsos is reproved by the sublime mysticism of his 


opponent, who proclaims that the ultimate desire of the 
soul is to be absorbed into the Eternal, — 

Eeturning like a drop of dew, and lost 

•In that great fountain-ocean whence it came. 

As this great idea, new to all the scoffing Greeks, is 
being discussed and ridiculed, the doors burst open, and 
the whole changes into one of those splendid scenes of 
glowing, sensuous colour, in painting which Paludan- 
Miiller shows a singular delight. A chorus of girls, led 
by two of the most distinguished hetairai of the time, all 
garlanded, and singing to the music of stringed instru- 
ments, rush into the palace. No one heeds Kalanus, who 
has risen behind Alexander, and stands there rigid and 
pale with passion. There follows some exquisite choral 
writing, and at last Thais, pouring out her soul into a 
lyric that is like a ' god's voice hidden in a bird,' throws 
her lute aside and flings herself into the arms of Alexander. 
But before she can reach her royal lover, Kalanus is 
between them, with a knife, ready to sacrifice the impious 
nymph. The king angrily brushes him aside, Thais rushes 
to embrace Alexander, and the whole company, singing 
and shouting, leave the palace to seek fresh revels else*- 
where. Kalanus is left alone, a dying priest in a polluted 
shrine ; the god he has been worshipping proved to be a 
mere man, the slave of wine and women, tossed about by 
vulgar and ungodlike passions. He departs in unutterable 

In the third act, Alexander, repenting of. his folly 
under the exhaustion of the morning after the revel, is 
troubled at the absence of Kalanus, and learning that a 


pyre is being built on which! it is reported that the Indian 
is about to destroy himself, he supposes that the cause of 
Kalanus's despair is his own harshness, and starts in person 
to reassure him of favour. In a later act Sankara and her 
son are discovered in their hut, and Ealanus is sleeping. 
He wakes calm and quiet, but when Sankara attempts to 
dissuade him from self-immolation, his purpose is shown 
to be firm and absolute, and asfain she gives way before 
his more powerful wiU. But This sleep he J had a 
glorious vision of Brama, and his &ncy is no longer haunted 
by the desire of an anthropomorphic revelation of the Grod- 
head, but is securely content to pass into the splendour of a 
Presence whose form and fashion he knows not, but in whom 
he trusts with an infinite repose. This vision of glory, 
and a clearer intellectual perception of the mystery of 
divine things, lift him above all mundane hopes and fears. 
His mother leaves him to prepare the bath of purification, 
and Alexander enters, addressing Kalanus with gracious 
courtesy. To the conqueror's intense surprise, he finds, 
instead of a suppliant, broken-hearted at his feet, a calm 
and resolute opponent. Alexander assures him of his 
friendship; takes for granted that this report of a funeral 
pyre is untrue ; conunands, entreats, at last kneels to him 
for a promise to save his own life ; storms at him with 
sudden passion ; entreats again, but to no avail. Kalanus 
stands outside the magic ring, and in the power of his 
purity is stronger of will than the world's master. This is 
one of the most powerful scenes in the poem. Tired out 
with his efforts, Alexander leaves him at last, swearing to 
prevent his purpose with phy^cal force. But here also the 
mystic's wi]l is stronger than the king's, and in the last 



act Alexander sanctions the burning of Kalanus. The 
philosopher approaches his own fiery tomb with a solemn 
elation, a sublime joy. Dismissing the troops, casting 
aside the adornments that Alexander has sent to do him 
honour, he gathers his own countrymen about him, mounts 
the pyre, and in the midst of a choral invocation to the 
spirit of Brama, expires, his soul rising to the skies like 
wine poured out into the fire. The chorus around pro- 
claim his absorption into the Universal Oneness that is 
spirit and light. 

The work which seems to me to approach most 
nearly to the classic severity and grace of ^ Kalanus ' is 
the last thing that Paludan-Miiller published, his greeting 
to approaching Death, of whom he had ever been a lover. 
This is ^ Adonis,' a short poem of less than fifty stanzas, in 
the manner of the early mythological studies in which the 
poet developed his poetic individuality in its purest and 
most ideal form. It belongs to the same class of his 
writings as ' Tithon ' and ' Amor and Psyche,' though it 
is much slighter and more direct than these. Charon is 
represented as just setting his sail to catch the weak wind 
that blows along the Styx, when he hears a voice cry to 
him from the landing-place, and before he has time to 
turn, a beautiful youth has leaped into his boat. The 
thin ghosts shudder together at the unwelcome coming of 
one so full of life. Charon inquires his name, and learns 
that it is Adonis, who, snatched away from men by 
Aphrodite, has found that good fortune at last a burden, 
whose heart has remained unsatisfied among all the Paphian 
roses, and who now has escaped from her, and goes to lay 
his devotion and his desire at the feet of Persephone^ 


flying from pleasure that he may find rest. ' For I must 

■always love, and always love a goddess; that was my 

destiny, and I have followed it all my life. Venus and 

Proserpine were near when I was bom, and before I 

began to breathe two goddesses were contesting to possess 

me.' Aphrodite has held his manhood first ; now, weary 

of a love so exciting and so exhausting, he turns with 

irrepressible longing to the goddess, crowned With calm 

leaves, in whose hushed dominions there are no budding 

and no &lling flowers. The boat of Charon passes in 

silence down the dark channel, roofed in with rocks, the 

pulse of the oars alone breaking the deep stillness. Arrived 

at the harbour of death, a shade sunmions the coming 

shades to the banquet of Pluto. Adonis sees them 

disappear, as he stands alone upon the desolate margin of 

the stream. Presently a dead-paJe maiden comes, bearing 

a torch, and cries, ' Charon, is he come ? ' This girl 

Persephone sends daily to inquire if Adonis has arrived. 

At last, after so many years, the answer is * Yes ! ' She 

binds his eyes, and leads him through the realms of death, 

4own into the hall of the infernal gods, where, when his 

eyes are unbound, he sees Persephone sitting on her 

throne in silence and solitude^ A tinge of red flies to her 

white cheeks, she opens her majestic arms^ and breathes 

his name ; with an outburst of passionate love he throws 

himself at her feet, and tells her how, even in the arms of 

Aphrodite, he has loved her, and now has flown to her to 

experience with her keener and deeper pleasures than the 

earthly goddess could give him. But Persephone repels 

his caresses, and warns him that she has no love to give 

liim that can be likened with the love of passion ; if he 

o 2 


s^ks for that he is deceived, but she alsa loves him, and 
she has better gifts for whom she loves. While the 
beautiful Adonis still clasps her knees with his hands, she 
bids a maiden fill a beaker with the waters of Lethe. He 
drinks the divine nepenthe, and has only just time to- 
respond to the kiss the goddess presses on his mouth,, 
before he sinks at her feet in slumber, and lays his weary 
head upon her knee. So, through the ages these two 
remain unmoving, — Adonis in a happy dream, forgetful 
of all past passions and desires, Persephone bending over 
him with a grave smile, pleased at her final victory over 
her earthly rival. The open heavens are above them; and 
time is only marked by the waxing and the waning of the 

f Ll 'i HA !1 yN 

.  > » \ • \ J 




Whbn iiie history of medisBval poetry comes to be written 
we shall understand, perhaps, what must remain very dark 
till then, how it was that during the marvellous twelfth 
century, amid all the chaos of the shattering and building 
of empires, such sudden simultaneous chords of melody 
were shot crosswise through the length and breadth of 
Europe, interpenetrating Iceland and Provence, Acquitaine 
and Austria, Normandy and Italy, with an irresistible 
desire for poetic production. In that mysterious atmo- 
sphere^ in an air so burdened with electric force, the or- 
dinary rules of germination and growth were set aside ; 
out of barbarous races, and wielding the uncouthest of 
tongues, poets sprang full-armed, so many Athenes bom 
suddenly adult from the forehead of the new Gothic civi- 
lisation. That was an age of rapid movement and brilliant 
development, an age thirsting for discovery and invention, 
ready with one hand to fill the West with the new-found 
marvel of the pointed arch, with the other to push with 
£word and cross far into the &bulous East. It was at such 
a time, imder such violent auspices, that poetry was bom, 
full-grown, in G-ermany ; the rude-bud of folksong blossom 
ing in one single generation into the most elaborate art, 


only to wither again, as in the wont of such suddeii 
blooms, in as short a time as it had taken to expand. No- 
more soch brilliant verse was written in Oennany, until 
the time of Croethe, as was produced between the years 
1150 and 1220, by a group of poets residing mainly at the 
courts of Austria and Thuringia. It would be out of place 
here to give any sketch, however slight, of the influences 
brought to bear upon them from without. We must hurry 
over the various cardinal points which demand mention,, 
before we can intelligibly introduce the subject of this 
memoir. It was about the year 1140 that an Austriant 
knight, whose name has not been preserved, gathered into 
epical shape the scattered ballads which form what we 
know as the * Nibelungenlied.' Somewhat later, another 
Austrian, of equally obscure personality, collected the 
priceless epos of ' Kudrun.' The minne-song, the lyric of 
love, was at the same epoch invented or imported by the 
great German lyrist, Heinrich von Veldecke, and his ex- 
ample was shortly followed by the simultaneous outburst 
of the four great poetic voices of mediaeval Germany — ^the 
nightingales as they called themselves — Gottfried voa 
Strassburg, Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach^ 
and Walther von der Vogelweide. The genius of the first 
three of these was essentially epical. In the ^ Tristan ' of 
Qt)ttfried, in the * Iwein ' of Hartmann, in the ' Parzival ' 
and the * Titurel ' of Wolfram, we have the four great 
epics of romance literature, the four poetic pillars on which 
the whole structure of High-German language and litera^ 
ture rests. In these unique works, steeped in the purest 
colours of knight-errantry and chivalry, and written in 
verse-fonns of astonishingly delicate art, we have in its 

EPICS. 199 

original and undiluted form that spirit of romance that 
has so often since fascinated and bewitched the youth of 
Europe into more or less fatuous imitation. By the side 
of this native poetry may be set the epics of foreign ex- 
traction, the masterpiece among which was that ^Alex- 
andersage ' of the Pfaffe Lamprecht so extravagantly 
eulogised by Gervinus. But this epical literature was not 
the sole product of the age ; a lyrical growth accompanied 
it, represented by myriads of minor singers, and one man 
that by common consent ranks as high as the three great 
epicists. This first of mediaeval Grerman song-writers was 
Walther von der Vogelweide. 

Over the earliest years of his life there rests an ob- 
scurity which is likely to remain impenetrable. We know 
neither the year nor the place of his birth, his rank in 
society, nor the name of his family. In lack of clearer 
data than his own verses give us, we may roughly put 
his birth down at about the year 1170, or nearly a century 
before that of Dante. That he was of gentle, but not 
noble birth, is judged by the title given him by all of his 
contemporaries of Herr Walther, the 'Herr' being the 
token of the knightly middle class, in contradistinction to 
the burghers, who were styled Meister.^ Over his appellative 
' von der Vogelweide ' a great deal of ingenious speculation 
has been expended. ' Walther of the Bird Meadow ' has 
been fancifolly supposed to be a name adopted by himself. 

* It ifl perhaps not generally known that the race of meister- 
nngers has been extinguished only in our own day, and that there is 
still alive, at the age of over eighty, at Ulm, a grave-digger named 
J. Best, who is absolutely the last survivor of the last gpiild of meister- 
nngers in Germany. This gui^d was dissolved in 1839. 


either to signify that he was bom in some hamlet secluded 
in the midst of the forest, among the birds, or else merely 
in token of his own great love for wild places and little 
birds. But ^ Fogilweida ' is understood to mean aviarvwm 
in Middle High Crerman ; that is to say, an enclosed space 
where birds are artificially confined. It would therefore 
be difficult to believe that the lover of wild things would 
take this name from choice, and fortunately the difficulty 
has been cleared up very lately by the discovery in an old 
manuscript of the thirteenth century, of the existence of an 
estate called Vogelweide in the Tyrol, which has now long 
since disappeared, and there is little doubt that it was hence 
our poet came, especially as one of his friends and followers, 
a sweet minor minne-singer of that time, Leutolt von Seven, 
was bom, we know, in that very valley in Tyrol. This 
mountain province, even in that early time, had not a 
little thirst after literary glory, and several of its poets, 
contemporary with Walther, have been fortunate enough 
to have their 'Lieder' preserved, now to be piecemeal 
printed by modem admirers. Walther, however, was not 
satisfied with a local reputation, and very early in life he 
seems to have left the paternal home to seek his fortune 
in Vienna. 

There was no more attractive city in Germany to a 
young man with his life before him than the capital of 
Austria in 1 190. No part of the Empire was so prosperous 
or so devoted to the graceful arts as the neighbourhood of 
the Viennese court, and, what would have special fascina- 
tion for Walther, nowhere were the poets so brilliant, so 
popular, and so famous in their art. Jealous of the un- 
disputed supremacy of Cologne, Vienna was taking advan** 


tage of its own security and prosperity to establish its 

position as the second city, at least, of the Empire, if it 

-could not be the first. It seems that the raw lad from the 

Tyrol, with nothing to live on but his genius, came and 

put himself under the tuition of the most famous lyrist of 

iihat age, Beinmar the Old, and lost in the blaze of the 

•Court and the noise of rival wits, we hear no more of him 

for eight years. It must not be imagined that he was idle 

•during that time ; it was no light task to learn to be a 

«ninneHsinger. The poetry of that early age, so far from 

being the simple, wild-wood fluting that is idly and 

.generally supposed, was a metrical art of the most elaborate 

kind, and one for the skilful performance of which a long 

and patient apprenticeship was needed. Out of the one 

hundred and eighty-eight poems of Walther's which exist, 

at least half are written in unique measures, and all in forms 

of his own invention. He soon surpassed all his forerunners, 

•even Beinmar himself, in the intricate mysteries of verse, 

4uid it is worthy of no small admiration how supple the stiff 

-old High German becomes in his masterly hands. We shall 

return to this matter ; for the present it may suffice to 

point out that the blank years 1190-1 198 must have been 

full of laborious exercise, and that all in which he di£fer8 

from other poets in this, is that he has not seen fit to hand 

•down to us his juvenilia. At the same time, there is no 

reason against supposing that many of his most beautiful 

love-songs, which carry no internal or external evidence of 

•date, belong to this early period. However that may be, it 

is not till 1198 that we catch a distinct view of our poet 

^or the first time. 

Indeed, there is a theory that almost all the naive and 


spontaneous lyrics of Walther's minne-period date fronit 
this first Vienna life, and that it was the death of the 
Emperor Henry VI. that first woke the poet out of hi» 
dream of love .and pleasure, and that aroused in him that 
noble spirit of patriotism which has made his name so 
firagrant ever since. Henry VI. had raised the Empire to 
a position of secure prosperity and dreaded power which it 
had never reached before ; he was still in the flower of his 
age, and apparently at the opening of a brilliant career. 
Suddenly he died at Messina, on September 28, 1197, and 
the earliest political poem of Walther's that we possess 
evidently marks the tide of feeling at home when the de-- 
plorable news was brought to Grermany. With his head 
resting in the palm of his hand, and one knee over the- 
other, and his elbow resting on the upper knee, the poet 
sits on a rock overlooking the world, and speculates, not 
without dismay, how fortune, honour, and Grod's grace are 
to be reconciled in this bereaved ai^d helmless state. In 
the next strophe he sees a great water rushing by, with 
fish in it, and gazing past it he sees the forest : and these 
fish, and the birds, beasts — ^yea, and the very worms in the 
forest, have their order and their rulers, but Germany haa^ 
none. In the third part he is gifted with prophetia 
sight, and sees all things done, and hears all things said^ 
by all the men and women in the world, and behold, they 
all with one accord lifb up their hands to Gx>d and cry 
' Woe I for the Pope is too young I Lord, help thy ChriB^ 
tendom.' In this first poem of political import we have 
some of the nu>st characteristic utterances of Walther^R 
muse : desire of order and hatred of anarchy, yearning foir 
the unity of G-ermany, and deep-rooted suspicion of the 


Papacy. The mention of the youth of the Pope gives us a 
hint of the exact date of the poem, since Innocent III. was 
elected in January 1198, at the unusually early age of 

The death of the great Emperor was coeval with the 
breaking up of Walther's Viennese home. For some 
reason obscure to us, Austria was no longer favourable to his 
prospects. Perhaps the fate of Heinrich had less to do with 
it than the death of his beloved patron,' Duke Friedrich, 
who was lingering in Palestine at the extreme end of the 
Third Crusade, and who fell, in April 1198, a few months 
before his great rival Bichard Coeur de Lion defeated the 
French in the battle of Gisors. It was an epoch of great 
deeds and names sonorous with romance. While Walther 
was learning the art of poetry under Reinmar, the terrible 
Sultan Saladin had died. To return to Vienna : in place 
of Friedrich, Leopold VII. ascended the Austrian throne, 
and in him Walther had at first to mourn an irresponsive 
patron. We possess an artful elegy over Friedrich, in which 
his successor is warned to imitate the generosity of the 
duke, but to so little purpose that we find Walther leaving 
Vienna precipitately, to oflFer his singing services to 
Philip of Suabia. As Friedrich died in April, and as we 
find Walther singing at Mayence on occasion of King 
Philip's coronation in September of the same year, we can 
hardly allow that he gave Leopold time to do justice to his 
powers. The poem is very flattering, but from a lyrical 
point of view particularly flat and inefficient. The ex- 
cellent and handsome Philip responded, however, to our 
poet's praise of his magnanimity and his beauty, so feu:, at 
least, as to take him with him in 1199 to the Diet of 


Magdeburg, where Waliher gives us a brilliant little 
picture of the processioii of Philip and his Chreek qneen 
Irene to chnrch, attended by a gay throng of Thnringian 
and Saxon nobles. Next year he was back again in 
Vienna, welcomed this time by Leopold, and rewarded for 
his songs by largesse from the hands of that yonng * glorious 
^and liberal' prince. On May 28, 1200, when Leopold 
took the sword in solemn pomp as Duke of Austria, gifts of 
^ not less than thirty pounds ' were made in all directions, 
and Walther, who had complained in 1198 that the 
showers of fortune fell on all sides of him but left him 
dry, was plentifully moistened with golden rain, and had 
his debts paid. This brings us to the end of his first rest- 
less period. From 1200 until 1210 he seems to have 
stayed quietly in Austria. 

The only important event that occurred during this 
peaceful decade was the death of his great master in poesy, 
Eeinmar the Old. This occurred in 1207. Beinmar, 
who originally came from Hagenau — ^that very Hagenau 
where, in Walther's early manhood, Bichard of England 
was arraigned before a Diet of the Empire — was jpar 
Smi/neTice the poet of melancholy passion and tender 
reverie, and very unlike the joyous, manly figure of 
Walther. There is a tradition that they did not live 
together on the friendliest terms — a notion that is 
curiously borne out by the wording of a very musical and 
thoughtful elegy by the younger on the elder poet^ in 
which he expressly says that it is not Reinmar he mourns, 
but his art. The death of Beinmar gave occasion to one 
of the most important contemporary notices of Walther 
which have come down to us. Grottfried von Strassburg, 


far away in Alsace, received the news as he was writing 
the eighth book of his great epic of ' Tristan.' He broke 
off to celebrate and mourn ^ the nightingale of Hagenau,' 
and to weave into his narrative a critical sketch of all the 
great poets of his time. Beinmar has fallen with the 
banner in his grasp, and the minne-singers are left without 
a leader. Gottfried takes up his prophecy : — 

Who now shall lead our congregpation ? 
Whose voice guide this dear singing nation P 
I know fuU well whom ye will find 
Bear best that banner to your mind ; 
That Yogelweide it must be 
Whose clear high voice rings merrily 
In fields and in the open air ! 
Who sings of wondrous things and fair, 
Whose art is like an organ's tone, 
Whose songs are tuned in Oitheron 
To please our goddess Lady of Love.^ 

This testimony, from such a man, proves how fan the young 
poet's feme had already reached, and how highly he was 

Except that in this same year, 1207, Walther was so 
frightened by comets and shooting stars that he was sure 
the Last Judgment was arriving, nothing seems to have 
occurred in his history until 1210, when we find him in the 
service of Duke Berhard of Karinthia, where he was so ill 
at ease that in 1211 he migrated again; and this time 
to the very home of polite letters, Thuringia, where the 
young landgrave, Hermann, gathered around him all the 
most advanced spirits of the age. At the Thuringian 
Court on the Wartburg, close by Eisenach, Albrecht von 
Halberstadt was busy with his German version of Ovid's 

' Appendix BB. 


^Metamorphoses; ' Herbert von Fritslax was composmg his 
epic on the tale of Troy; Heinrich von Veldecke, the 
greatest of Walther's predecessors, had just died, hard by 
in Naumbiirg; and, best of all, Walther learnt here to 
know the rare and exalted genius of Wolfram von Eschen- 
bacb, who was writing his deathless ^ Parzival,' amid the 
roaring joviality and hospitable freedom of the Wartburg, 
of which Walther, whom it suited less, gives a striking 
picture. This seems to have been a time of depression and 
morbid irritation with our wandering poet. His bitterest 
epigrams against Pope Innocent III. date from this period, 
and the merry life at Eisenach seems to have jarred upon 
his melancholy. He is plaintively humorous against a 
oertain knight G-erhard Etze, who has stolen his horse, and 
on whom he revenges himself by describing him thus : 

He rolls his eyes as monkeys do, 
But most he's like the lewd cuckoo, 

and other such uncouth pleasantries in the lumbering 
manner of the Middle Ages. From Thuringia the dis- 
satisfied man turned to the service of Dietrich, Margrave 
of Meissen, and remained with Jiim till 1213. It is pro- 
voking, and a little humiliating, to read the verse-petitions 
addressed to one monarch after another,' praying for pro- 
tection and shelter, and urging liberality in the style of a 
•charity sermon. Under Dietrich as under Hermann, 
Walther was a liege servant of the Emperor Otto IV., 
whose excommunication by the poet's pet aversion. Pope 
Innocent, provokes him to continual wrath. In all his 
poems against the Papacy, he writes with a freedom and a 
force that are truly remarkable, and Luther himself never 



«poke out more plainly than Walther von der Vogelweide 
in one little ^Spnich' or sonnet, where he urges the 
division of all temporal and spiritual authority, that being 
given to Grod which is God's, and that to the Kaiser which 
is his. Grermany was divided between rival Emperors. 
Otto rV. was pitted, to the great danger of the whole 
Hohenstaufen dynasty, against the legitimate heir to the 
throne, Friedrich, the young son of Henry VI, The civil 
war between these princes was carried on for ten years, 
and by-and-by we find Walther growing impatient with his 
patron, and urging him, at any cost, to endanger the unity 
of Germany no longer. Presently he describes with 
enthusiasm the fine presence and masculine beauty of Otto, 
but pathetically wishes he were as liberal as he is tall. 
Things rapidly get worse and worse, till at last Walther 
takes up his parable against Otto as a double-faced monster, 
and openly comes over to the cause of Friediich. This 
was but the instinct of a wise rather than grateful man of 
the 'world, for the poem we have mentioned last seems 
to belong to the year 1215, in which Friedrich 11. finally 
;gained the day. A series of moving appeals to the clemency 
of Friedrich meet us next. If only the great man will smile, 
the poet's genius, now firozen as in winter, will reblossom 
and revive. He says that — 

Then wiU I wag again of little birds, 

Of header, and of flowers, as once I sang : 

Of lovely women and their gracious words, 
And cheeks where roses red and lilies sprang.^ 

Vienna seems once more to have become his settled 
home, and in 1217 we read his farewell to Leopold, who, 
with the flower of Austrian chivalry, was then starting for 

' Appendix CC. 



Palestine on the fifth Cnisade. Their departure leaves the- 
court and city as empty and dull, we are told, as the 
departure of the knights of the Table Bound, when they 
parted on the quest of the Grraal, left Arthur's '&buloua 
city. The public of Walther's day, it must be remembered, 
were even more familiar than we are with the Arthurian 
legends. The humorous tone of this song, however, soon 
fades in genuine apprehension, and we have a poem m 
which, in a strain of the tenderest and most child-like piety, 
he begs G-od to guard him as G-abriel guarded Jesus in the 
crib at Bethlehem. To this period belongs a curious 
lyrical tirade against the roughness of the young knights^ 
who have no care for courtesy and the dignity of women.. 
For such licentious and froward mediseval youth, Walther 
has but one lesson, and he repeats it incessantly — 

And wilt thou gild the round of life, of women speak thou well. 

The two years between Leopold's departure and hi» 
happy return in 1219 were lightened by brief visits to 
Styria and Bavaria, but he was back again in Vienna to 
welcome his prince, and to send a joyous note of congratu-r 
lation after him when he set out once more, this time to 
be crowned at Borne in the winter of 1220. It must have 
been about the same year that he gained the friendship 
of Englebert, the stirring Prince Archbishop of Cologne, 
imder whose special protection he flourished until 1225, 
when that gifted prelate was murdered by his own nephew. 
As time goes by, as the poet grows oldey, and as one 
firiend and patron is taken from him after the other, he 
loses gradually the elasticity of intellect that had so ong 
sustained him, and there comes to be something almost 



querulous in his tone. In cadences that become mono- 
tonous, he mourns the disappearance of honour, art, piety 
and virtue from the land, and it is not always that the 
sadness is tempered with so much sweetness as in the fol- 
lowing poem, which we translate as literally as possible, 
with the poet's own rhymes and measure. He has been 
ill all through the winter, and only revives when spring is 
in the land once more : — 

The hoar-frost thriUed the little birds with pain, 
And so they ceased their singing ; 

But now the year grows beautiful again, 
Anew the heath is springing. 

I saw the flowers and grasses strive amain 
Which should the taller be — 

I told my lady this sweet history, 

how I suffered through the wintry hours 

And grievous frosty weather ! 

1 thought I nevermore should see red flowers 

Among the dark green heather ; 
Yet, had I died, 'twere grief to friends of ours. 

Good folk who when I sang 
So gladly danced about for joy and sprang. 

Had I been dumb on this delightful day. 

For me it were great sorrow ; 
And Joy, so smitten, would have fled away, 

And for no happier morrow 
Would Joy have said farewell, well-a-day I 

May God preserve you all, 
So that ye pray that health may me befall.^ 

The poet need not much longer detain us from the 
poems. After the murder of Engelbert the religious 
tendency of Walther's character seems to have deepened 
into pietism. It is, therefore, fitting that we meet with 
him next at the court of Hermann's successor, Ludwig, 
Landgrave of Thuringia, who, as husband of St. Elizabeth 

* Appendix DD. 


and patron of the ecclesiastical party, was as fanatic as his 
predecessor had been dilettante. But Hermann's ring of 
poets was by this time broken up ; one by one they dis- 
appear, as is the wont of mediasval poets, fading from our 
sight with no record of their death. Ludwig was a child 
of the new age, the characteristic man of the fanatic epoch 
just commencing. With the year 1226 a sudden accession 
of pietism was felt throughout Europe ; the life-long 
devotion of St. Francis of Assisi was crowned by his 
mystical death, and France was at once consolidated and 
fully reconciled to the Papacy by the accession of a still 
sweeter because more human saint, St. Louis. The power 
of the Empire, on the other hand, was visibly shaken. In 
vain Friedrich, * the world's wonder,' had trusted to the 
power of his individual tact and genius to frustrate the 
petulant intrigues of Pope after Pope. He was the most 
brilliant of the Hohenstaufen emperors, but under him the 
power of the dynasty faded into air. His independence of 
religious opinion was not shared by the tributary Princes 
of the Empire, and among the malcontents none was more 
ardent than this young Landgrave of Thuringia. At the 
court of Eisenach, in 1226, Walther must have often 
seen the slight pale figure of the austere girl who ruled the 
ruler of the Thuringians. Mystical, hysterical, a dre-amer 
of dreams, the wife of the Landgrave Ludwig was among 
the most singular of the characters of that dramatic age. 
We know her best as St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that very 
saint round whom some of the most charming myths of the 
Middle Ages cluster. Not, we may be sure, without 
strenuous help from her did Walther von der Vogelweide, 
in 1227, address a burning word of lyrical exhortation to 
Ludwig to start on a new Crusade, to win back Palestine 


once more. In all Walther's latest poems we may fairly \ 
trace the inspiring influence of personal intercourse with 
St. Elizabeth^ and the verses which breathe the fullest j 
perfume of her piire devotion are among the deepest and 
most exalted that he has left. Always a child of his age 
and a representative man, we see him in the early 
troubadour times throwing all his force into the courtly 
cultus of the Lady of Love, in the internecine struggles 
of the candidates for empire, preaching with a louder, 
clearer voice than any other the gospel of unity and inde- 
pendence ; now in his old age rousing to the new religious 
fervour, and contributing to its psalmody the crown of 
spiritual songs. Ludwig obeyed the summons, and started 
under the banner of the Emperor Friedrich in the autunm 
of 1227. Two beautiful ' Kreuzlieder ' of Walther's- 
crusade-songs that manifestly belong to this pilgrimage- 
still exist, and from their wording it has been considered 
that one was composed after the melancholy delay at 
Qtranto, where Ludwig and many others died of the plague, 
the other in Palestine itself. I jnyself, however, am 
inclined to hold with that most careful critic, the late 
Franz Pfeiffer, that these poems contain nothing that 
could not as well have been written in Germany as in the 
Holy Land. One strophe of the first will illustrate the 
measure and manner of them : — 

O God, thy succour send us. 
Thy saying right hand lend us, 
Till all is done befriend us, 

TiU all this life is o'er ; 
In all our onward stations 
Defend us from temptations : 
We know the hellish nations 

Are round us tempting sore ; 

p 2 


lead 118 with this ditty, 
Right on to thy lone city ! 
Jerusalem, in pity 

We weep for evermore ! * 

With the departure of the Ci'usade, Walther's last light 
seems to have gone out. Sad and weary he turned to his 
old Tyrolese home, and found all there changed and deso- 
late, after forty years of absence. It was probably then, 
and sore at heart to find himself forgotten, that the old 
world-weary poet composed his last and finest poem. The 
burden of life was never sung with more passionate sorrow ; 
the very rhythm seems to have a wailing echo in it. We 
have essayed to render part of this exquisite elegy, with as 
Uttle loss as possible of its naivete and pathos : — 

Woe's me, where are they vanished, my years of life that flew ? 
has my life heen but a dream, or has it all been true ? 
Was that a lie I cherished, that truth I vaunted so. 
For, lo I it seems Fve been asleep, and nothing now I know. 

Now have I wakened; all is dim I I cannot understand 
What, ere I slept, was plain to me as is my either hand ; 
This folk and land amidst of which my life arose so well. 
Have grown my foes, and all is strange, and why I cannot tell. 

My life is bowed with burdens, 'tis more than I can bear ; 
The world is full of sorrow and weary with despair ; 
And when I think of time long past, of wondrous vanished days. 
Grief takes me like a sudden wave that breaks on ocean-ways. 

The very youth that were so gay, how sadly now they fare, 
Their eyes are bowed with wretchedness, their lips are full of care ; 
All they can do is mourn and weep ; alas I why do they so P 
Where'er I turn in all the world no happy man I know. 

Dance, laughter, singing, all forgot and sadly put away. 
No man throughout all Christendom has joy in these to-day; 
Mark how the women little heed the tiring on their head ! 
The proudest knights are fainjto lie in boorish drowsihead. 
• .»•••.»• 

^ Appendix EE. 


O would that I might bear a shield and take a sword in hand. 
Would God that I were worthy found to %ht for his dear land ! 
Then should I, poor albeit I seem, myself a rich man hold, 
Yet not in acres have my wealth, nor master be of gold. 
But I should bear upon my head the bright eternal crown 
That one poor soldier with a spear can conquer for his own ; 
O might I that dear voyage make, and wend across the sea, 
For ever would I ' glory ! ' cry, and nevermore * Woe's me,* 

And nevermore ' Woe's me ! ' ^ 

Such, or rather far sweeter and more musical than we 

have art to make it, is Walther's swan-song, and with it he 

fades out of our sight* The only traditional fact that can 

help us is, that he retired to an estate near Wiirzburg, in 

Franconia, which Friedrich had given him, and that he 

quietly passed away abojlt_J:235, having survived all the ; 

rivals and friends of his youth. It is said that he was 

buried under a linden in a grass-plot surrounded by the 

cloisters of Wiirzburg Minster, in a sweet poetic sanctity, 

shielded from the world, yet open to the sky, and a leafy 

haunt of birds. Out of the great love he had for those his 

winged rivals of the woods, there arose a charming legend, 

that has done more than anything else to popularise his 

memory, to the eflfect that in his last testament he left 

a special provision directing that every day the birds 

should receive food and drink upon his tombstone, so that 

the branches of the linden that hung over him should 

never cease to resound with the voices he had so tenderly 

loved and so exquisitely imitated. Many poets competed 

to write his praise when he was dead, but none with such 

a naive felicity as Hugo von Trimberg, in his well-known 

couplet : — 

Her Walther von der Vogelweide, 
Swer des vergsez', der taet' mir leide. 

* Who thee forgets, does me a wrong I ' 

> Appendix FF. 


It is time now to examine the poems which remain to 
us of the work of this great man, whose troubled and un- 
happy life we have traced to its final repose. In the course 
of the previous narrative we have spoken of the political 
section of his verses, for it is from these that we have 
extracted, not without much labour, the greater part of the 
history of his life. Full of biographical interest as they 
are, however, they do not form by any means the most 
attractive or important section of his labour. In treating 
Walther as a political or as a religious poet, we must not 
forget that his great claim to remembrance rests, not on 
the lyrics which he composed in these capacities, but on 
the matchless ' minnelieder,' love-songs, which were the 
first-fruits of his youth. In reading these we find ourselves 
face to face with the earliest blossom of pure chivalry. As 
might be expected in the lyrical work of a generation that 
blended the sentiment of ' Kudrun ' with that of ' Parzival,' 
the Scandinavian toleration of women, born of something 
like indifference, with the Provencal gallantry, bom of 
poetic passion, the German love-songs of the school that 
culminated in Walther have a tender elevation, a serene 
sweetness more courtly than the Northern, less sensuous 
than the Southern erotic literature. 

French influence on German literature was more epical 
than lyrical, more through such writers as Chretien de Troyes 
than through the troubadours ; although the laws of love, 
as settled by such potentates as the Countess of Champagne 
and Ermengarde, Lady of Narbonne, were accepted in the 
whole world of lovers, and are reflected by the simpler 
poems of the minne-singers. Some very curious and inte- 
resting links between Provence and Germany have however 


been detected, and are worthy of note. Friedrich von 
Husen, a minnesinger who was wandering through Italy 
and the South of France from 1175 to 1186, must have 
become familiar with the Southern writers, for we find a 
strophe of Folquet, the troubadour-bishop of Marseilles, 
transferred into one of his poems. It may amuse the 
curious reader to set the passages side by side. This is the 
Provenf al original : — 

Qu'el garda vos eus ten tan car, 

Quel cor s'en fai nescis semblar, 

Quel sens i met Tengenh e la valor, 

Si qu'en error 

Laissal cor pel sen quel rete ; 

Qu'om me parla (maintas'vetz m'endeve) 

Qu'eu no sai que, 

Em saluda qu'en non aug re. 

Pero jamais nuls hom nom occaizo, 

Sim saluda et eu mot no li so. 

This is the paraphrase of Friedrich von Husen : — 

Si darf mich des zihen niet 

Ichn hete si von herzen liep. 

Des mohte si die welrheit an mir sehen^ 

Und wil sis jehen. 

Ich kom sin dicke in solhe n6t, 

Daz ich den liuten guoten morgen b6t 

Engegen der naht, 

Ich was 86 verre an si verdHht, 

Daz ich mich underwilent niht versan, 

Und swer mich gruozte daz ichs niht veman. 

In Heinrich von Veldecke we meet similar signs of 
Provencal influence, and in the poems of Count Ruodolf 
of Neuenburg the imitations of Folquet and Peire Vidal 
form quite a prominent feature. Such conventional in- 
fluence from the South, however, is rare, and what strikes us 


most prominently in the lyrics of Walther, and what gives 
them that inherent excellence which has kept them fresh 
after six hundred years, is the resolute manner in which, in 
defiance of the artistic theories of the age, he constantly 
returns to the study of nature, and the folk-song as an 
inspired emanation from nature. His verse is fuU of clear 
little landscapes, warm with colour and sunlight, like those 
that fill the backgrounds of the earliest German and 
Flemish painters^. The great fault of mediaeval poetry 
being that it is conventional, mannered, and artificial, the 
student of that poetry best knows how like a fountain in 
the desert such a clear trill of song as the following ballad 
of Walther's seems. There is a versified paraphrase of it 
by Thomas Beddoes, the author of ^Death's Jest Book;.' 
but so inaccurate is it, that I prefer to lay before the 
reader a translation in literal prose, the intricate harmony 
of the original measure seeming to defy translation: — 

Under the linden 

On the heath, 

There our double bed we made ; 

There might you find 


Broken flowers as well as grass. 

In front of the forest in a valley 

Tandaradei I 

Sweetly sang the nightingale. 

I wandered 

To the field ; 

Thither was my beloved come. 

There was I so taken, — 

Blessed Lady ! 

That I shall evermore he happy. 

Did he kiss me P 0, a thousand times ' 

Tandaradei t 

See how red my mouth is ! 


There had he made 

So rich 

A bed of flowers ; 

Had anyone come by, 


He would have laughed. 

Since among the roses he might well 

Tandaradei ! 

Have marked where my head had lain. 

That he was there by my side 

If any were to know, 

(Qod forbid it !) I might be shamed. 

What there befell 

No one knows 

But he himself and I 

And one little bird, — 

Tandaradei I 

And she may well be trusted.^ 

The innocent sweetness of these lines reaches at one 
bound the absolute perfection of such writing. In our 
own rich poetic literature we have equalled, but none 
could excel, its divine simplicity and purity. In G-ermany 
it remains without a rival in its own peculiar class, 
the finest songs of Morike coming closest, perhaps, 
to it. The genius of the folk-song was never more ex- 
quisitely wedded to the art of accomplished verse. 
Among characteristics that Walther owes to his reverent 
study of the volks-lied, may be mentioned his manner of 
contemplating the seasons, and their natural pheno- 
mena. Spring is his favourite time, and he is divided 
between the joyous excitement of seeing the flowers break 
through the snow, — delicate reminiscence, perhaps, of the 
gentians on his own Tyrolese mountain sides, — ^andthe still 
contentment of May, the month of blossoms, that links 

* Appendix GG. 


spring with summer* He has his flower of flowers; the 
heather is to him what the daisy was to Chaucer. His 
songs are full of references to the tender beauty of the 
rose-red bells that bud and break out of the dark green 
sprays. He is never tired of this one flower; when he is 
ill and like to die in winter, it is the sight of the heather 
in bloom that brings back to him the desire to live. Some 
of his images give the heather a sweet significance; in one 
minne-lied he says: 'The heather blushes red in spring 
to see how green the forest is growing, so sorrow is ashamed 
at sight of joy.' But it is not the simple flower of the 
wilds that can bewitch him in his excitable moments. 
Then the forest must receive him in its murmurous depths, 
to wander there till the poet's mood of restlessness is over. 
' I love the heather with all its manifold colours, but I love 
the forest better still, for within it there are many wonder- 
ful things.' But for the winter he spares his hatred. Few 
men have said more petulant things about the winter-time 
than Walther. The first line of the first poem in the 
collected edition of his works reads: ' The winter has done 
us all manner of harm : heather and forest have both lost 
their colour, but many a voice will soon sound sweetly there 
again. As soon as 1 8,ee the maidens playing at ball in the 
streets, then I know it is time to hear the birds again. 
Would that I might sleep away all the hours of winter I 
for watching and waiting, I grow angry that its power 
should spread so far and wide. God knows it must soon 
give place to May, and then we shall have flowers again 
where now we have frost.' In another early poem he says : 
'I am grown as uncouth a& Esau, my smooth hair has 
become all rough (with winter cold). Sweet summer. 


where art thou ? I long to see how the fields lie once more. 
Rather than go on sufifering as I am doing now, I would go 
and be a, monk at Toberlu.' Toberlu being, it seems, an 
excessively bleak and dreary Cistercian monastery in West- 
phalia. Once only does he speak well of winter. That 
one good word is to be found in the latest group of his 
' minne-lieder,' where at last the obdurate lady of his love 
has rewarded his patient passion with a declaration of her 
submission. That first winter of bliss cannot be denounced 
as winters in general are. He blames the days for being 
so short, but satisfies himself with this true lover's philo- 
sophy : — 

If the winter days be brief^ 

Longer last the winter nights ; 
Loved and lover find relief, 

Kest and bliss in love's delights. 
What have I said ? Woe's me ! in silence best 

Such rapture were confessed.^ 

There is one exquisite Hagslied' or ^aubade' as the 
French would call it, song of dawn and awakening, in which 
the Juliet finds a thousand plausible reasons why her 
Romeo should take no heed of the day-star that shines out 
of the grey sky in testimony of the approach of morning. 
Fresh as dew or a newly opened flower, such poemis as these, 
perfumed with gaiety, chivalry and romance, come down to 
us with the first principles of love and poesy upon their 
innocent rhythms. In the originality and beauty of his 
* tagslieder,' however, Walther does not equal Wolfram 
von Eschenbach, whose amorous * sentinel-songs ' are the 
most exquisite German imitations of the Provencal 'alba, 
of the origin and purpose of which Dr. Hueffer gives a full 
account in his valuable work on the Troubadours. These 

* Appendix HH. 


earliest lispings of the vernacular are naive with the 
simplicity not so much of a child as of some adult creature 
newly gifted with a voice, some Dryad or Oread just 
cumbered with humanity. Their sweetness is primitive 
and unaflfected, and we listen to them with surprise to find 
the things they tell us so familiar and yet so freshly put. 
The Middle High German, too, has a dreamy dignity about 
it that is lacking in the German of to-day ; there are none 
of the hai'sh labial compounds that grate upon the ear, and 
mar so much of the melody even of Goethe and Heine ; 
there is none of the garrulous flatness that mars its other 
child, the otherwise rich and graceful tongue of modem 
Holland. It is inherently, in all its distinction and its 
imperfection, the language of romance, as old French is 
par excelleTwe the language of chivalry 

All this while we have said nothing about the class of 
his poems for which Walther was most admired by his 
contemporaries, and in which they took most interest, the 
' minne-lieder.' Criticism loves above all things to linger 
around the peculiarities and individualities of a character, 
and shrinks from the needful task of considering its uni- 
formities. Minne-singing was the fashion of the time, and 
of Walther himself we learn least from the love-songs. 
Yet, considered simply as poetry, and as the culmination 
of an interesting literature, they are worthy of our careful 
attention. The relative position of a poet and his mistress, 
of any knight and his liege lady, was but recently defined 
by the fantastic laws of chivalry. The elaborate system of 
gallantry that was instituted in the South of France, and 
out of which there gradually developed a passion for amorous 
litigation which was never equalled for frivolity before or 


since, had not penetrated as far as Grermany. A simpler, 
sweeter fashion prevailed among the patrons of the minne- 
singers, and the new discovery of the lofty worth of woman 
was pushed to no foolish excess of aflFectation. It seems to 
have been customary for every minstrel who felt in himself 
a calling to sing of love, to choose a mistress to whom to 
pour out his ardour and his melancholy. Considering the 
roughness of the times, it is very singular that the ordinary 
tone of the verses produced should be so reticent, so delicate 
as it is. These are the words in which Walther first in- 
ti^oduces us to the lady of his love : — ' When the flowers 
are springing out of the grass, laughing up at the wanton 
gun, in a May morning early, and the little birds are sing- 
ing in the very best way they can, what can be likened to 
that ? It is well-nigh heaven itself. Should we say what it 
likens, I could have said what I have seen much better, and 
I would say so still, could I only see that glorious sight 
again. It was where a noble, beautiful, pure woman, well 
robed and well adorned, went in company with many folk, 
with lofty bearing and not alone, looking slowly around 
her from time to time, going as the sun goeth among the 
stars. J^t May bring us all its wonders, what has it so 
wonderfully sweet as this her lovely body ? We let all the 
flowers stand waiting, and gaze upon this perfect woman.' 
We are forcibly reminded in this beautiful description 
of Walther's first sight of his mistress of the passage in the 
' Vita Nuova,' where Dante sees Beatrice among the other 
fair Florentine girls, outshining them all. There is a 
grace in the picture that recalls the slim maidens of some 
early Tuscan procession, in attendance on' a queen who 
easily surpasses them in dignity and beauty. Presently 


the first awe of the stricken senses gives way to passion that 
exalts and excites the imagination, and in the next poem 
his hands are longing to adorn her. In language at once 
ardent and reverent, he declares that her simple robes 
should be set oflF with chains of jewels, and since he is poor 
and cannot buy these, he will throw about her garlands of 
red and white flowers that have sprung in forest depths to 
the sound of the singing of birds. He flies to the wood- 
lands to get these chaplets for her, and in the leafy solitude 
he makes bold to tell us how he declared his love for her to 
herselfc It was underneath a blossoming tree that he told 
her, and the air so shivered with his passion that the petals 
were loosed from the boughs and fell in a soft rain at their 
feet. In his next song he is less rapturous. It is the 
beauty and goodness of his dear lady that have bewitched 
him, and her red mouth that laughs so sweetly ; and his 
own diction, as he says so, is so felicitous and bright, that 
we think of Heine in his few joyous ' Lieder.' Presently we 
learn that some great national disaster has fallen upon 
Grermany ; but Walther can hardly refrain from singing, 
for he is thinking of his mistress. He is like a happy child 
forced to attend a funeral, who is chided for an involuntary 
peal of laughter. But a sadder tone comes in, a chord of 
apprehension jarring on the joyful music. His lady holds 
aloof, and while permitting him to be her declared servant, 
will grant him no favour, and pronounce no word of com- , 
fort. The rapture gives way to a strain of exquisitely 
gracious supplication. ' If thou art indifferent to me I 
know not. I love thee! This one thing is hard to bear. 
Thou lookest past me and over me. I cannot bear this 
my burden of love alone. If thou wilt only deign to share 


it, I can easily bear it.' There is something extremely 
genuine and pathetic in this broken cry of hope deferred, 
and the simple confession that it is very hard to be unable 
to fix her look a moment, that she will ' look past me and 
over me.' We seem suddenly brought face to face, pulse to 
pulse^ with the living man in such a natural ejaculation of 
wounded love and vanity as this. In the next poem we 
learn something of the proud lady's station. ' HerzeUebez 
Prouwelin,' he says, ' heart-beloved maiden, many blame 
me that I love one so poor as thou art and of so low estate. 
This I bear as I have borne, as I will ever bear ; thou art 
beautiful, and thou art rich enough for me. I would not 
give the glass ring round thy finger for a queen's gold.* 
The next song lends itself so kindly to our English, that we 
cannot refrain from giving one stanza in verse : — 

God of her &ce had ^eat delight : 

He spread such precious colours there, 
So purely red, so purely white, 

Here rosy-flushed, there lily-fair : 
O, I would see her gladlier far, — 

Dared I to say so without sinuiug, — 
Than heaven or heaven's bright chariot-star : 

Poor fool, is this thy praise-heginning ? 
For if I lift my words so high 
The trespass of my mouth may make my heart to sigh.^ 

Whereupon he melts into a reverie about her lips, so ripely 
red for kissing, and wonders if he shall ever win them for 
his own ; the whole somewhat unusually amorous strain being 
accounted for in some measure by the last stanza, in which 
we learn how he fainted, wounded by her loveliness, as, 
hiipself unseen, a wild-wood Actaeon, he watched her rising 
naked from her woodland bath. We also, glancing for a 

* Appendix II. 


moment, may in fancy see some such substantial figure, 
flecked with leaf-shadows, and unabashed, as was made 
inmiortal three hundred years afterwards in Albrecht 
Diirer's glorious engraving of the Adam and Eve, that 
beatification of the Teutonic Venus. 

At this point we meet with the first of those invectives 
against ^ my lady Fortune,' ^ Frou Saelde,' which become so 
common. He begins to feel his lack of wealth and his 
uncertain position very irksome and painful, and he blames 
Fortune for his ill-luck with his mistress, who in spite of 
all is still ' not dear, or very dear, but the dearest of all.' 
It furthermore appears that the object of his affections is 
not known to the world ; it was a kind of duty with sensitive 
lovers to conceal their lady's name, and he complains that 
people flock round him, and tease him to tell them. 
But he will give way at last, and let them know. This 
lady, then, has two names — the one of them is Grace, but 
the other is Churlishness ; and so he leaves them as wise as 
they were before. There follows then a declaration couched 
in words of the most modem tone and feeling. He tells 
us that a man of honour, a knight, a gentleman in fact, 
should respect all women, but should keep his deepest 
reverence for the best. Not those, necessarily, which have 
the most beauty, for beauty is but an adornment of goodness ; 
and then, confessing that his mistress treats him ill, yet he 
cannot regret being a servant of love, for he says that a 
man knows no more than a child what life means if he 
never loved a woman. Next we have a charming pastoral 
vignette. He is sitting in the fields, and meditating on 
his love ; he determines to try the oracle. So he takes a 
long stalk of knot-grass, and pulls it asunder, joint by joint 


as children do, to see if she will love him or love him not. 
He begs us ' do not laugh 1 ' for the answer is favourable, 
and he is so hopeless that even that affords him some little 
consolation. Presently we find him, in true Benaissance 
spirit, kneeling in supplication to ^ Frouwe Minne,' Venus, 
our Lady of Love, that she will shoot an arrow into the 
hard heart of his mistress. It is difficult to imagine how 
it was possible that these long-winged interchanges of 
homage and disdain, to prosecute which 

Men must have had eternal youth, — 
Or nothing elee to do, 

as Mr. Austin Dobson flippantly but pertinently says, could 
be pursued without much ennui. The sense of the ridi- 
culous was very slightly developed in the early mediaeval 
times, many proofs of which might be adduced from 
Walther's poems, and from none more than the next we 
come to among the ' minnelieder,' which I translate as 
being at the same time very short and a curiosity in subject 
and metre : — 

Queen Fortune throws her gifts around, 
But turns her back on wretched me ; 
No place for pity hath she found, 
And what to do I cannot see ; 
To me to turn she will not deign. 
And if I run around, I find her turned again. 
She pleases not to see me ever, 
I would her eyes stood in her neck, so must she see me then for 

all her wild endeavour.^ 

The abnormal length of the last line is of not unfrequent 
occurrence in these poems, and points to some peculiarity 
in the melody to which they were sung, for in all cases the 

* Appendix JJ. 


metre was arranged to suit the tune, not the tune composed 
for the words. 

A fresh group of more humoristic ^ minnelieder ' opens 
with a whimsical piece of petulance direct against his 
lady. All her honour comes from having so great a poet 
to sing her glory, and if she will not favour him he will 
sing no Wore, and her fame will be forgotten. Then with 
a curious impetuous outburst that is half-comic, half-savage, 
he hopes that if she refuses him, and takes a young man 
when she is gray, that her lusty husband may revenge her 
first poet-lover by ill-treating her, and by whipping her 
old hide with summer saplings. The next is more fantastic 
still, full of curses on the winter, queer jokes about the ill- 
fortune of hearing the ass and the cuckoo on an emtpty 
stomach,' and ends up by addressing his mistress as 
Hiltegunde. It has been supposed from this that that was 
her name ; but, on the whole, considering the etiquette of 
the times, which, as we have seen, forbad a knight to reveal 
his lady's name, it is more likely that it is a play on his 
own name in connection with the popular romance of 
^Walther and Hildegunde.' A little later we are assured 
that the Emperor, probably poor young Heinrich VI., 
presently about to die in Sicily, would gladly turn music- 
maker for a kiss of her red lips. Passing one or two simi- 
larly conventional lyrics, we come to one song of a far 
fresher kind, one that made Walther famous at once, and 
which ought to endear his name and memory to every 
German, the first clear note of high patriotic unity, a 
hymn in praise of Germany and German beauty. One 
verse in particular has often been quoted by modem critics 
as curiously anticipating the famous national song 


*Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?' of Ernst Moriz 
Amdt : — 

From Elbe river to the Khine^ 
And back again all round to Hungary, 

'Tis the best^ this land of mine ; 
The best of all the world, it seems to me. 

If I can judge what's fair, 

In body or in face, 
So help me God, no ladies have such grace 

As German women bear.^ 

Whether this declaration of public feeling softened his 
Hiltegunde's heart or not, at all events we find him soon 
on terms of familiarity with her, called by her ^ friunt ' and 
'geselle' (lover and comrade), and calling her in return 
' friimdin ' and ^ frouwe min ' (darling and wife). With this 
song and with that quoted above, in which, for her sake, he 
forgives the winter, the series of ' minnelieder ' closes. 

The verses of his later days breathe a spirit of morbid 
and petulant melancholy that is very sad to meet. He 
lived long enough to see the decline of art, and to hear 
the cry that poetry was dead. Walther deplores with 


much bitterness the loss of courtly popularity. The 
world whom he has served and still would serve has left 
him, he tells us, to listen to young fools. The garlands of 
the world have missed him, and the blossoms faded ; the 
very roses have fallen apart and left only thorns. Virtue 
has lost its power, beauty its magic, in these sad days. 
In short, he mourns, like Asaph of old, that the wicked 
should flourish as a green bay-tree, while he is poor and 
an outcast. In one of these later poems, however, we 
come upon a single example of a brighter mood. It 
begins with the old depression. He is in utter despair ; 

* Appendix KK. 
Q 2 


life is not worth living ; all men do evil, and that is the 
&ult of the women. So far all is gloomy, but at the 
mention of the last word he pauses, and reproves himself 
for speaking evil of women. He has no right to carp at 
others because life is dark to him, and the piece ends by 
his saying, ' Then I will live as best I may, and give out my 
song.' But he is soon as miserable as ever. Love likes 
the stalwart limbs of young Four-and-twenty better than 
the wise bald head of Three-score. The Lady of Love has 
gone crazed after young fools, and heeds not him nor his 
songs. Art is at a low ebb, morality is dead, and at last 
he says ferewell to the world altogether. 

There is little pleasure in following him through this 
period of morbid and atrabilious discontent, a Byronic 
disease of the mind far enough removed from that melan- 
choly of Leopardi or Shelley, which is deeply poetic in 
spite of its weakness. We lose in it all trace of the joyous 
singer who had been unable, in his youth, to lead off even 
a piece of juggl ing nonsense about a crow and an old 
woman, without a prelude of such bubbling Chaucerian 
sweetness as this :— 

When summer came to pass, 
And 'blossoms through the grass 
Were wonderfuUy springing, 
And all the birds were singing, 
I came through sun and shadow 
Along a mighty meadow, 
In midst of which a fountain sprang, 
Before a woodland wild, that rang 
With songs the nightingale outsang.^ 

We have seen that he awoke from this intellectual 
paralysis which was creeping over him, under the excite- 

* Appendix LL. 


ment of the pietistic revival, and wrote some superb fresh 
sacred lyrics under the personal influence of St. Elizabeth 
of Hungary. We have seen, too^ that the rousing of the 
embers was but a flash, and that the end was near. The 
life of trouble was to find rest in the cloistered silence 
of Wiirzburg. Thus we have traced the man and the 
poet through his life and his work to the same point of 


In one of the precious portfolios of the Fodor Museum in 
Amsterdam, there exists a drawing the interest of which, 
to the literary student, far overbalances that of the heads 
of old women and groups of old armour with which it is 
associated. It is a study in sanguine, by Groltzius, and it 
represents a young Dutch lady of the time of Shakespeare. 
The face is viewed almost in profile; the soft hair — golden 
blond, as we know from other sources — is drawn tightly 
back from a forehead of most virginal sweetness, and is 
enclosed in a lace coif; large dark eyes, partly concealed 
by somewhat heavy eyelids, and softened by long lashes; a 
straight nose, finely cut, with resolute and even passionate 
nostrils; a mouth exquisitely curved; and a small firm 
chin,, compose a countenance in which intelligence and 
strength of purpose combine with an imusual beauty. The 
modest diffidence of the upper part of this face is belied by 
the resolution of the lower part, and we recognise that 
sweetest paradox of excellent womanhood, the tenderness 
that is at once wise and strong, the will that knows how, 
with equal simplicity, to rule or to be ruled. The drawing 
was made about the year 1614, and it is the portrait, at 


the age of twenty, of Tesselschade Visscher, the most 
renowned of Dutch poetesses. 

Before we enter upon the study of that particular period 
which is to be the subject of this chapter, it may be well to 
regard very briefly the literary and political events which 
led up to it. The phrase, ' Chamber of Ehetoric,' will be 
frequently mentioned in the course of these pages, and I 
may at the outset describe the peculiar institution thus 
referred to. It was under the Dukes of Burgundy and 
during the last years of the fourteenth century that literary 
guilds began to be formed in the Low Countries, under the 
title of ^ Kamers van Ehetorica,' or Chambers of Ehetoric. 
For more than two centuries all literary enterprise was 
protected and conducted by these semi-oflScial bodies, the 
existence of which was not confined to the large cities, but 
marked the prosperity and public spirit of even such 
unimportant towns as Zierikzee and Schiedam. It was 
the privilege of these Chambers to encourage the com- 
position of sacred poems, of scholastic prose treatises, and, 
most of all, of moralities and dramatic mysteries. As the 
course of events progressed, first the Eenaissance, and 
secondly, the Eeformation, coloured the exercises of the 
Chambers, and in due time destroyed them. But before 
this last could happen, a kind of didactic humanism had 
taken the place of the study of Thomas Aquinas. There 
was really little vitality in the constitution of the Chambers. 
The 'brothers,' as the members were called, discussed, 
analysed, spun out their endless threads of argument, 
without much result in science or literature. Under their 
hands the language became gradually debased, until it 
threatened to sink into a kind of bastard French. Flanders, 


in the early part of the fifteenth century, enjoyed a certain 
&]lacioQB revival in the hands of Hoowaert, a man equally 
illustrious as poet and statesman, who stirred the Chamber 
of the ^ Garland of Mary,' at Brussels, into a sort of frenzy 
with his pseudo-classical dramas of ^ Narcissus and Echo,' 
^ Leander and Hero,' and the like. But this proved to be 
a false start. Houwaert had no true conception of the 
dignity of antique art; and, moreover, the language he 
wrote in was deformed by all the worst barbarisms of the 
Burgundian school. Comelis van Grhistele was but a little 
more successful with the Chamber of the ^Marigold,' at 
Antwerp, for though he approached somewhat nearer to the 
sources of antiquity, he did nothing to purify the debased 
and nerveless language. Meanwhile, the first great writer 
of the Netherlands had arisen in Antwerp, actually outside 
the blazing petals of the ^Marigold.' This was the poetess 
Anna Bijns, perhaps the only woman whose writing, apart 
from her personal influence, has effected a great change in 
any epoch of letters. From this time the omnipotence of 
the Chambers, having been questioned, was ripe to pass 
away. The struggle with Sjpain, and the victory of the 
Northern Provinces, removed the head of intellectual as 
of commercial enterprise from Antwerp to Amsterdam, 
but not before it had called forth in the Southern Provinces 
the quickening genius of FiUps van Mamix, Lord of Saint 
Aldegonde, one of those brilliant and penetrating minds 
which seem to be produced only in the most critical 
moments of history. In the plastic hands of Mamix the 
Dutch language regained its vigour and much of its purity, 
and became a fit channel for national and patriotic thoughts, 
while his ^ Wilhelmuslied,' a ballad in honour of William 


of Orange, nobly heralded the independence, and has 
remained for three hundred years the one great popular 
poem of Holland. To return, however, to the Chambers 
of Ehetoric. We are particularly concerned with one of 
those institutions, the Amsterdam, Chamber of the ' Eglan- 
tine,' which was founded in 1496, and which took for its 
motto the words, * In Liefde Bloeyende ' — ' Blossoming in 
Love.' In process of time the full title of the Chamber 
was merged in the phrase, 'The Brothers Blossoming 
in Love.' This body played no important part until 
the war with Spain; it failed to compete with its 
southern brethren; but as soon as Amsterdam began to 
enjoy the privileges of Protestant freedom, that is to say, 
from the year 1578, the Eglantine took a foremost place in 
Dutch culture, and the last fifty years of its existence were 
years of prolonged triumph. About 1585 Amsterdam was 
enriched by the arrival of a great number of fugitives from 
Flanders and Brabant, who brought their wealth and energy 
to tho new market of Holland; and at the same time there 
arrived two of the literary guilds of Antwerp, the ' White 
Lavender Bloom,' and the ' Fig-tree.' From this time forth 
the Eglantine became known as the Old Chamber, and its 
character underwent an important modification. While 
the exiles from the south retained their cut-and-dried 
traditions, their conventional forms, their tiresome Burgun- 
dian phrases, the Brothers of the Old Chamber, among 
whom were counted the noblest and most intelligent 
citizens of Amsterdam, set themselves to reform the 
language and enrich the literature of the new-bom state. 
The creation of a national poetry and a national art was 
exactly coeval with the creation of a national constitution. 


As Holland attained independence with a sudden heroic 
effort that nothing could withstand, so, with the same 
rapid decision, she formed for herself, in a single genera- 
tion, a great literature. In this work, three men, intimate 
friends, citizens of Amsterdam, had the main honour of 
initiation: one of them was the father of our poetess. 
They were immediately followed by a group of the 
most elevated and original minds that Holland has 
produced; and in this greater generation our poetess 
herself formed the central point around which all the 
best genius of the time revolved, obeying the irresistible 
attraction of beauty and sympathy. Hence a full bio- 
graphy of father and daughter would embrace the whole 
history of the rise and glory of letters during the short 
period that they flourished eminently in the Netherlands. 
Such a copious study would be impossible within our 
limits, but it will perhaps be within our scope, while 
never losing sight of the central figure, to contem- 
plate, in some degree, the whole movement of Dutch 
literature from 1580 to 1670, the extreme limits of its 

Tesselschade was the third and youngest daughter of 
the poet and rhetorician Roemer Visscher. Her name was 
typical of the ingenious tastelessness of the age, a quality 
that we find, like a stain, pervading the whole literature of 
Europe in the end of the sixteenth century. The name 
signifies Texel- wreck, and the young lady received this 
extraordinary title because her father, returning from some 
voyage, was wrepked off the Texel, at the mouth of the 
Zuyder Zee, on the day of her birth, March 25, 1594. Her 
father himself had a punning name, for 'Roemer' sig- 


nifies a goblet or cup, and his contemporaries indulged, of 
course, in endless pleasantries on so pliable a text. Boemer 
Visscher was bom in 1545 ; the Independence found him 
a middle-aged man of wealth and position, a Catholic indeed, 
but wholly devoted to the State, and with an enthusiasm 
for letters which overpowered all other considerations. He 
had plenty of leisure, and he had employed his earlier years 
in a course of study then very unusual in the north of 
Europe. For while devouring the classics with all the 
passion for which Leyden had so long been famous, he did 
not, like the scholars of that famous university, attempt 
the vain task of competing with the ancients in their own 
tongues, but determined to use them as models for the 
exaltation of the vernacular into a classic language. In 
this great idea he consciously followed the example of 
Joachim du Bellay, whose ' Defense et Illustration,' pub- 
lished when they were children, formed the text-book of 
the Humanists of Amsterdam. In the labour he under- 
took, Eoemer possessed a great advantage in being one of 
the two Presidents of the Chamber of the Eglantine ; and 
another in having for his colleague his bosom friend 
Hendrick Spieghel, a man entirely like-minded with him- 
self. A third agent in the work of this renaissance was 
Coomhert, a much older, and in some respects less genial 
and fascinating person than Spieghel or Eoemer, but a great 
reformer of language, and a prosaist of considerable genius. 
A didactic humanism, Cicero strongly tinctured with the 
Bible, formed the starting point of the polemical philo- 
sophy of Coomhert ; the Old Chamber, under the guidance 
of the younger men, stood more aloof from religion, gave 
a warmer tinge to thought, and formed an element in 


which the imagination could move comparatively nn- 
shackled by conventional disabilities. It was their great 
glory to have purified the language, to have thrown away 
the rubbish of the Bhetoricians, and to have restored^ in 
modem form, the nervous language of Maerlant and 
Boendale, the great mediaeval writers of ' Dietsch ' or early 
Dutch. In this revival, it should be repeated, the Brothers 
Blossoming in Love took at first a solitary part, and to 
their two Presidents is due the chief honour of the 
movement. Spieghel, a wealthy merchant, was a more 
active, less contemplative character than Boemer. Bom 
in 1 549, he was slightly younger than his friend, but he 
seems at first to have taken the lead in literature. Just 
outside the Utrecht gate of Amsterdam, stood Meerhuyzen, 
his beautiful villa, in the garden of which, among the 
boughs of a great old linden, he built a summer-house, 
which he named the Muses' Tower-court. In this hanging 
house among the leaves he received a few select friends, 
and it became the first Dutch salon. Called to the highest 
honours of the Eepublic, he preferred to pay one heavy fine 
after another rather than to disturb his study, and imperil the 
progress of literary reform. As early as 1584, he published 
his famous ' Twaespraek,' a prose treatise founded on the 
model of Du Bellay's, in which he advocated, in the form 
of a dialogue held in his linden tree between Eoemer 
Vissoher and Gedeon Fallett, the necessity of purifying 
Dutch literature by a tasteftd study of the classics, and in 
which he lays down, for the first time, the principles of 
prose style. This book was introduced by a prefisice from 
the hand of Coornhert, and was in fact a manifesto from 
all the leaders of reform. We may safely take this date — 

HOOFT. 237 

1 584 — as the commencement of the great age of Dutch 

We can easily mark the decline of genius, but we know 
nothing of its rise until it stands before us adult. There 
seemed, between 1585 and 1605, to be but little practical 
result of the labours of Eoemer and Spieghel. The great 
poets of the next generation, all bom soon after the earlier 
date, were fast growing towards maturity in the warm air 
of freedom and revival. Although the two Presidents of 
the Old Chamber did not print their poems till the last 
years of their lives, their pieces were circulated from hand 
to hand, and their teaching was widely received. Such 
books as 'Den Pyl der Liefden,' (Love's Arrow), by 
Amoldus Cobbault, full of allusions to Venus and Adonis, 
Panchaian odours, and the progress of Bacchus, pointed 
the way though without original talent, exactly as the 
poems of our own Grroves and Watsons did. But the first 
real luminary that rose into the heavens, thus purged of 
mist by the leaders of the Old Chamber, was a young man 
destined to become the most influential, if not precisely 
the greatest, of all Dutch men of letters. Pieter ComeUszoon . 
Hooft was the only poet of the great period, who in after 
years could remember the meetings among the boughs at 
Meerhuyzen. Bom in 1581, he was admitted as a boy of 
seventeen-into the Chamber of the Eglantine, of which his 
father, for a long time Burgomaster of Amsterdam, was an 
enlightened and prominent member. The introduction of 
entire equality among the citizens of the great Dutch cities 
produced, as it had done in Florence in the fourteenth 
century, a merchant aristocracy, which the presence of a 
great national danger chastened and preserved from vulgar 


excess. The glory of the new commonwealth was its 
merchant class, with their wide government of the sea. 
The fall of Antwerp had been the rise of Amsterdam, and 
this was entirely owing to the immense impetus given to 
mercantile enterprise. In spite of the exhaustion of 
the struggle for independence, the wealth of the United 
Provinces was practically unbounded, and the centre of 
this prosperity was Amsterdam. The courts that en- 
couraged art and literature had no counterparts in Holland ; 
no member of the House of Orange had the opportunity of 
becoming a Maecenas, except Frederick Henry, and he too 
late to modify the course of events. Consequently it was 
left to the wealthy merchants to organise and direct in- 
tellectual eflfort, and under their genial protection the fine 
arts flourished freely, in accordance with the temper of the 
nation. The elder Hoofb was a typical merchant prince, 
and it was natural that the son of such a man, being dowered 
with genius, should know how to cultivate his gifts in the 
way most advantageous to himself, and to his country. 
Hooft had the intelligence to import, even in his boyish 
days, a new element into literature. Hitherto the Dutch 
Humanism had been essentially didactic. Spieghel read 
Plato in the original, and felt a little the Greek sense of 
delight in thought for its own sake, but he was alone in 
both these attainments. The Eenaissance had come to 
Holland to teach, and not to enjoy ; the great Latinists of 
Ley den, though they had produced a Joannes Secundus to 
their wounding, and a Lotichius to their hurt, had mainly 
asserted a Ciceronian stoicism in which there was no 
tincture of the southern delight in luxury and physical 
beauty. Already in Hooft's boyish tragedy of 'Achilles 

HOOFT. 239 

and Polyxena,' performed before the Old Chamber in 1598, 
in spite of the inspiration drawn rather from Seneca than 
Homer, in spite of the thinness of plot and the poverty of 
language, a more truly Greek conception of poetry is re- 
cognisable than in any previous Dutch poem. The chorus 
(act ii. scene 4) beginning — 

The heaven with its halls of cloth of gold, 

alone appears to me to protest against the neglect Dutch 
critics have shown to this dull and puerile but most 
important drama, and to foreshadow plainly enough the 
richness and melody of Hooft's later style. In his 
eighteenth year, flushed with success and ambition, with 
unlimited means at his disposal, attended by all the charms 
that wealth, beauty, and vivacity can give, the fortunate 
young poet started on a three years' tour through France, 
Italy, and Germany. Italy was the land of his dreams ; 
he arrived too late to press the dying hand of Tasso, but 
not too late, it would appear, to pour a florid worship at 
the feet of Guarini. He recorded his adventures, such as 
seeing the dead body of Gtibrielle d'Estr^e sitting up in a 
white satin mantle six hours after her decease, and other 
remarkable exhibitions, in a highly entertaining note-book, 
which has been published in our own time. But it is 
more to our purpose that from Florence, in 1600, he 
addressed a letter in rhyme to the Old Chamber, which 
marks an epoch in Dutch verse, so excellent is it. In 1601 
he came back to Holland with a splendid pair of mous- 
taches and one finished drama. The latter was the 
' Theseus and Ariadne,' a boyish affair, even worse than 
the ' Achilles.' 


Hooft returned, to find the household at Meerhuyzen 
broken up. Spieghel, persuaded by his second wife, 
abandoned the Muses' Tower-court in 1602, and proceeded 
to Alkmaar, now a red-roofed dreamy town, as clean and 
as empty as a scoured pan, but then a great mercantile 
centre and the capital of Nortji Holland. But the literary 
circle was not broken up ; the members merely transferred 
their rendezvous to the house of Roemer Visscher, on the 
Cingel, just outside the city of Amsterdam, on the way to 
Haarlem. In 1602 the family consisted of his wife Aafge, 
of whom we know next to nothing, and of his three 
daughters. Of these, Anna, the eldest, was a comely, 
intelligent girl of eighteen, Truitjen (or Grertrude) six 
years younger, and Tesselschade, a sweet little person of 
eight. It was probably at this time, and during the next 
three years, that these young ladies laid up the stiock 
of accomplishments which formed in after life the wonder 
of their contemporaries. Speaking of the time before he 
set out for Constantinople in 1612, Emestus Brink of 
Harderwijk wrote : — 

Roemer Visscher had three daughters, all of whom were prac- 
tised in very sweet accomplishments ; they could play music, paint, 
write and engrave on glass, make poems, cut emblems, embroider 
all manner of fabrics, and swim well, which last thing they had 
learned in their father's garden, where there was a canal with water 
outside the city. 

It will be noticed that the curriculum of their studies 
was a very healthy and practical one. The blue-stockings 
of the day, like Anna Maria van Schurman, talked Greek 
and wrote Arabic^ and were prigs of the most appalling 
intensity ; but the daughters of Roemer Visscher, though 


possessing the finest feminine intellects of their age, could 
not even read Latin. They were early instructed in their 
father's love of his mother-tongue, and of the fine arts, 
and they inherited no small measure of his admirable good 
sense* Throughout life nothing was more remarkable in 
the characters of Anna and Tesselschade that, though habit- 
ually covered with the most fulsome adulation from all the 
most eminent men of their age, they never forgot to be 
sensible, discreet, and modest. Such was the home and such 
the feminine adornments of the house of Eoemer Visscher. 
Coomhert had died in 1590; Spieghel was gone to 
Alkmaar ; Eoemer himself was verging on sixty, and his 
chief friends, the elder Hooft and the elder Eeael, were old 
men too. In this company Pieter Hooft, with his ItaUan- 
ated manners, his moustaches and his poetic ardour, must 
have produced a fine impression of youthfulness. One of 
the first things he did was to fall in love with the staid 
Anna, who rejected him with a gentle courtesy ; then with 
two nieces of Spieghel, who died one after the other, and 
finally with the famous lute-player, the fair Christina van 
Erp. But this is taking us too &r ahead ; we must pause 
at the year 1605, in which Eoemer moved to the house 
which was for so many years the nursery of genius, and 
Hooft first proved himself to be a great poet. 

The family of Eoemer left their home on the Cingel 
and took up their abode on the English quay, now known 
as the Greldersche Eaai, quite in the middle of Amsterdam. 
There is a charming engraving in Brederoo's ' Lied-boek,' 
which may very likely, I think, be a portrait of the house. 
A broad street, paved with ^klinkers' or rounded bricks, 
lies between it and the water ; a carved metal railing pro- 



tects the lower windows, which are themselves provided 
with delicate screens in ironwork. A long knocker de- 
corates the stout oak door, with its elaborate lintel, on 
which hangs the escutcheon of the family* It is a red- 
brick house, with lattice windows. There is a tree in 
front of it, and a courtyard beside it; and if you would 
know how cool and clean and sunny it is within, you 
must refer to the pictures of Mijnheer Pieter de Hooghe. 
There are eflfects of sunlight and colour to be found there 
on summer evenings such as Van der Meer, of all men who 
ever lived, was alone worthy to paint, but we must not 
fancy that the daughters of the house appreciated them 
with all the intensity of the generation that followed. 
The Italian fashion was supreme in art as in poetry, and 
there still were memories of the young men who went 
to Rome with Bernard van Orley to study in the school of 
Baphael. This Italianating spirit was not lessened, we 
may be sure, by the next step taken by the ambitious Hooft. 
In 1605, the year that Boemer moved into the city, the 
Brothers Blossoming in Love were invited to witness the 
performance of a pastoral drama by their youthful colleague, 
a work unprecedented in Dutch history. It is not sup- 
prising that 'Granida,* as it was called, excited great 
notice. From the first verse that the shepherdess Dorilea 
utters we see how fresh and new a poem this is, and how 
great was the advance that Hooft had achieved. Pastorals 
are not now in fashion; it is unfortunate, for a good 
dramatic idyl is a lovely piece of art. * Grranida ' has 
almost every requisite of this kind of writing ; it is varied 
and lyrical, sufficiently interesting as a story, amorous and 
gracious, with a spice of passion, and written in luxurious 


richly-rhymed verse that is music itself. Compared with 
our own ' Faithful Shepherdess,' it is a little stiff in form, 
the Italian model being more closely imitated, and when 
we read it carefully we find whole passages of the ' Pastor 
Fido ' bodily paraphrased. But there was no law in those 
days against the sin of plagiarism, and the unconscious 
offender errs very gracefully. . This delicate, artificial 
poetry was not to set root in Holland ; its days were already 
numbered, but in Hooft, as in Spenser, of whom he con- 
stantly reminds us, the love of the French and Italian poets 
outweighed for a little while the temper of the nation, and 
produced a brief semblance of the Grolden Age. Moreover, 
the daughters of Roemer, with whom Hooft's unlucky suit 
to Anna had wrought no severance of friendship, were 
deeply impressed with it, Tesselschade especially, as her 
early poems prove. 

At the English Quay the life at first was very quiet. 
It is not probable that the house of Roemer was con- 
scious of the fact that close by, in Warmoesstraat, a 
seller of stockings died in 1608, leaving a young son of 
twenty-one, Joost van den Vondel, in good time to be the 
intimate companion of Tesselschade and Anna, and himself 
the greatest of Dutch writers. Still less are the ladies likely 
to have heard of the arrival, in 1607, at Amsterdam, of an 
English family exiled as Brownists by the bigotry of James 
I., and bringing with them their son, Jan Janssen Starter, a 
boy of thirteen, soon to become an exquisite lyrical poet. 
They were more interested in certain femily matters that 
gave colouring to the year 1609, when their sister Triutjen, 
who did not share their literary proclivities, married a rich 
brewer, Nikolaas van Buyl, afterwards promoted to be 

R 2 



BheriflF of the city. He belonged to the Reformed Church, 
and thus Gertrude passed out of the circle of her family's 
interests ; accordingly, we meet with her name no miore. 
It was in the same year that a young man of twenty-six, 
one of the handsomest and most capable persons of that 
'stirring time, Laurens Beael, was marked out for honours 
by the great Oldenbameveldt, and a stiU greater distinction 
was accorded to a dearer friend by the Stadtholder. The 
influence of the family of Hooft with the house of Nassau 
was very great, and the brilliant gifts of yoimg Pieter 
Comeliszoon were not imnoticed by Maurice. In 1609, 
the bailifi* of the castle of Muiden, Willem van Zuijlen 
van Nijevelt, died, and was succeeded by the author of 
' Grranida ' with the titles and emoluments of baiUflf of 
Muiden, steward of Grooiland, and master of the town and 
lands of Weesp. This appointment was one of the richest 
and most desirable in the gift of the Stadtholder ; it gave 
the possessor rank among the highest dignitaries of the 
country, and assured him more than competence. Prom 
this moment Hooft lived at Muiden Castle, on the river 
Vecht, about ten miles east of Amsterdam. 

The mother of our three sisters died soon after her 
second daughter's marriage, and in 1610 we find Anna 
head of the household at Engelsche Kaai, and dividing her 
care between her ageing father, and the sixteen-year-old 
Tesselschade, now fsist developing into an acknowledged 
beauty. Soon came the news that Hooft had won the hand 
of Christina van Erp, and had brought her to share the 
dignities of Muiden. It was probably in the same year 
that tiie sisters became acquainted with Yondel, who had 
just married, at the age of twenty-three. Some influence, 

BREDEB06, 245 

now unknown to us, united the family of Roemer with the 
great Latinists of Leyden, particularly with Heinsius, who 
we find henceforward as a faithful admirer of Anna and 
warm friend of the others. Thus the circle was enlarging, 
and one by one those great figures were gathering round 
the unfolding charms of Tesselschade, ready to greet with 
their sympathy the earliest emanations <of her genius. In 
1611 her father at least, and probably herself, became 
conscious of a youth over whom she was destined to exercise 
a very considerable influence. This was Grerbrand Adria- 
enszoon Brederoo, whose ' Roddrick and Alphonsus,' per- 
formed in that year, and dedicated to Hugo Grrotius, 
revealed the existence of a new dramatic genius. Bom in 
1585, Brederoo was at this time of the same age as Anna, 
twenty-six, and a rough, fiery creature, in every way unlike 
the aristocratic Hooft. He was the son of a poor shoe- 
maker of Amsterdam, a Protestant, and a stranger to the 
native refinements of the Eoemer family ; but genius was 
a key that could always unlock that hospitable door, and it 
was not long before he became an intimate visitor. In 
1612, too, the young English exile, Jan Starter, became a 
member of the Old Chamber, and a friend of Eoemer's 
daughters ; a very different person he from the unpolished, 
ardent Brederoo, nor did he, a boy of seventeen, impress 
his personality on the circle as Brederoo did. The year 
1612 was a memorable one in the annals of the Dutch drama. 
Brederoo produced two very important plays before the 
Old Chamber — ^his romantic tragi-comedy of ' Griane ' and 
his broadly comic ' Farce of the Cow.' A new figure, that 
of the physician Dr. Samuel Coster, competed for dramatic 
honours with his farce of ' Teeuwis, the Boor ;' Hooft came 


forward with his noble historical tragedy of ' Geeraerdt van 
Velsen,' a story of early Dutch history from the times of 
Floris v., the scene of which is laid in the Castle of M uiden, 
Hooft's own home ; and last, but not least, Vondel brought 
out the first of the magnificent series of his biblical dramas, 
' Het Pascha,' or the Freeing of the Children of Israel from 
Egypt, in which, as in most of the writings of this exalted 
poet, a great national idea or aspiration is not far to seek 
below the surface of the story. This tragi-comedy was 
brought out, not by the Old Chamber, but by the Chamber 
of the White Lavender Blossom, one of the Brabant guilds 
settled in Amsterdam. It was simultaneously brought out, 
pirated perhaps, by the Chamber of the Eed Eose at 
Schiedam. The success of the ^ Pascha ' was immediate ; 
Vondel was invited to come over to the Eglantine, and 
from this time forward we find him a constant visitor at 
Boemer's house. 

Among all these acquisitions there had been one loss. 
Oldenbameveldt had noted, as I have said, the diplomatic 
and governing qualities in Laurens Reael, and had deter- 
mined to take him away from the writing of poetry to a 
wider sphere. We need not regret it, for making verses 
was the worst thing this great man could do. In 1602 
Holland had founded her East India Company, at a most 
happy moment, when the sceptre of Asia was falling 
from the enslaved hand of Portugal, and when Spain had 
proved herself incapable of lifting it again. The treasures 
of the Eastern Archipelago dropped into the grasp of 
Holland, and her merchants found a glorious new empire 
waiting for them under the spice trees of Banda and 
Amboyna. But government as well as energy, craft as well 

BREDER06. 247 

as courage, were needed to regulate this new Eldorado. 
The keen glance of the Advocate surveyed the youth of 
Holland and selected Beael as the most capable person to 
be found. Accordingly, in 1611, that young man said 
farewell to his friends in Eoemer's house, and set out, in 
his twenty-eighth year, in command of four ships of war for 
the Moluccas. No sooner had he reached his destination 
than he was appointed Grovernor of Temate, the most pre- 
cious of the Spice Settlements ; and here, winning golden 
opinions, we leave him for the present. 

At home in Amsterdam, Brederoo was no less rapidly 
rising into fame, though on the more peaceful scene of the 
stage. In 1613 he was made a Brother Blossoming in Love, 
and began, by his growing diflferences with the elder mem- 
bers, a split which finally proved the ruin of the Eglantine. 
To us, the most interesting thing is that he fell violently 
in love with Tesselschade, now an exquisite girl of nineteen, 
and that this passion tinged the first few years with hope 
and the rest of his life with despair. Among the poets of 
this time she had many admirers, but no other, suitor, for 
Hooft, Vondel, and Coster were married, and in 1614 
Starter left Amsterdam to settle at Leeuwarden, in Fries- 
land, there to found a chamber of rhetoric in memory of 
his regretted Eglantine. Personally, there was much to 
recommend Brederoo to a young poetess like Tesselschade ; 
his fervour, his indisputable genius, his passionate admira- 
tion of her wit and beauty, and his public acknowledgment 
of her great qualities ; for in 1614 he dedicated to her by 
name his tragedy of ^ Lucelle.' To her father, on the other 
hand, the somewhat disreputable son of a Protestant shoe- 
maker, author of farces in which the decencies were not 


saccessfully maintained, the poor adventurer of Helicon, 
was a very interesting visitor and guest, but not to be 
thought of as a son-in-law, and so the wooing went on 
without any obvious result. The dedication of ' Lncelle ' is 
the earliest of the thousand-and-one tributes to Tessel- 
schade. Brederoo entreats the ^ amiable maiden ' to en- 
lighten his poor play ^ with beams from those flashing stars 
that stand and sparkle in the heaven of her forehead.' He 
overwhelms her with thanks, (^ friend of books and all 
fair letters I ') for having deigned to be present at the first 
performance ; and already were the genius and beauty of 
this girl so eminent that he addresses her as ^ the Honour 
of our City, the Grlory of our Age.' He is charmed with 
the sympathy she showed for his heroine, clothing with the 
royal purple of pity the lily-white of her maidenly cheeks. 
It will be observed that the style of Brederoo was &r fix)m 
what we nowadays consider reticent, and no doubt his 
personal suit was carried on in a manner no less stormy. 
In the midst of these successes of the younger men, Spieghel 
had died, in 1612, and in 1614 Boemer Visscher determined 
to publish to the world his own poems and those of his old 
friend, neither of which had hitherto circulated except 
in MS. Accordingly, Spieghel's great masterpiece, the 
' Hert Spieghel,' with its passing reference to its author's 
name, went through the press, and in the same year the 
' Zinne-Poppen ' and the * Brabbelingh ' of Boemer. These 
names, of which we may translate the first as ' Thought- 
Puppets', and the second as ' Scribblings,' were in some 
degree characteristic of the oddity of the contents. The 
' Brabbelingh ' consisted of erotic, comic, aud epigrammatic 
pieces, very many of them translated &om Catullus, Martial, 


and Ovid. It was the pride of Eoemer to be known among 
his contemporaries as the Dutch Martial ; a modem critic 
might be more inclined to call him a Batavian Clement 
Marot. His original pieces are sprightly and earnest; 
without being exactly clumsy, he is seldom melodious or 
neatly turned. Both of his daughters seem to me to surpass 
him in the technical part of verse. The ' Zinne-Poppen ' 
is a very delightful book, but it hardly comes under the 
category of poetry. It consists of nearly two hundred 
emblems, each illustrated by an engraving in the most 
charming style, with a motto above and a couplet below. 
This tills one page, and on the opposite is a short disquisi- 
tion with the text as a motto. The first editions are 
extremely rare; I only know the third, of 1669, adorned 
with the improvements and additions of Anna. It has a 
pretty title-page, with a roemer, a coflFee-pot, and a grace- 
ful jug, standing on a slab, again in punning reference to 
the author's name ; and the engravings in the body of the 
book are works of delicate art. 

The poems of Eoemer and Spieghel were received with 
great respect, but the age, in its rapid development, had 
in fact already passed these forerunners of the revival. 
It was in the drama that the next few years produced 
the most brilliant successes. Brederoo presented before 
the Old Chamber in 1615 his > Moortje,' an adaptation in 
verse of the * Eunuchus ' of Terence, which remained a 
popular stage-piece for eighty years, and Coster began a 
new style of performance with his ' Itys,' a most gruesome 
classical drama, in the manner of ' Titus Andrpnicus ' or 
< Hoffmann's Tragedy,' a thing of blood and rape, mitigated 
by passages of considerable romantic beauty. We find 


here side by side the two main streams of dramatic art in 
Holland, the broad humour and farcical comicality of 
which Brederoo is the greatest exponent in poetry as 
Teniers in painting, and the coarse tragedy, dealing with 
violent effects and horrid crimes in which Coster excelled, 
or rather, perhaps, persisted. Coster belongs altogether 
to a lower rank of talent than Brederoo, whose life-like 
portraiture of ' humours,' less pedantic than Ben Jonson's, 
is infinitely laughter-compelling still ; but Coster also had 
his comic side, and wrote farces which were quite as coarse 
if not so fimny as his younger contemporary's. In spite, 
in fact, of his horrors, he was probably intended by 
nature to be a kind of bourgeois tragedian of the mild 
type of Heywood, of whom he frequently reminds us. 
It is strange to think that Tesselschade, a girl of distin- 
guished rank in society, and in the flush of her youth, 
should be present at the performance of these wild plays, 
and should shower plaudits on their authors. It is more 
easy to imagine her seated in the theatre of the Brothers 
Blossoming in Love when her excellent friend Hoofb 
brought out his great historical play of ' Baeto, or the 
Origin of the Dutchmen,' in 1616. Meanwhile the fussy 
energy of Coster had brought about dissension in the 
Chamber of the Eglantine, and finding it impossible to 
induce the old-fashioned Brothers to act with them, he 
and other modem spirits left the Chamber in 1617, and 
built in Amsterdam a wooden theatre, which they named 
the First Dutch Academy, or more generally Coster's 
Academy. It was an attempt to imitate the Acadeznia 
della Crusca of Florence. 

Suddenly the troubles of civil war threatened to break 


on the Republic. From one end of the country to the 
other nothing was heard but the jarring clash of creeds, 
the endless -squabbles of Gromarist and Arminian^ and the 
growing jealousy of the heads of the State. Mr. Motley 
has given a graphic picture of this terrible storm of em- 
bittered religious opinions which broke upon the whole 
society of Holland ; and no one would suspect, in reading 
his pages, that literature could flourish anywhere during 
that period. But Amsterdam possessed a partial immunity 
from the politico-theological scourge, and the house of 
Roemer, and the castle of Hoofb were retired waters that 
scarcely felt the storm, or, feeling it, could still forget it. 
In 1618, however, the policy of the Counter-Remonstrants 
had become a burning question even in Amsterdam, and 
heated Galvinistic preachers, fulminating from their 
pulpits with all the rage, if not perhaps all the eloquence 
of Tertullian, succeeded in closing some of the theatres. 
In this very year, however. Prince Maurice commanded, 
and applauded, a performance of Hooft's * Geraad van 
Velsen,' while Starter, away in Friesland, was immolested 
in putting his ' Timbre van Cardone ' on the stage. To 
the £a,mily of Roemer, with their mild Catholicism and 
their cultured humanism, these rabid shouts of Free Will 
and Predestination that deafened the consciences of men, 
and drove them to the foulest acts of tyranny and treason, 
must have seemed pitiful indeed ; nor has Protestantism 
ever shone in so contemptible a light, as in these years 
preceding the murder of Oldenbameveldt. A more inti- 
mate grief came to them in 1618, when Brederoo, worn 
out with exhaustion and disappointment, died in the arms 
of his poor old mother, in the same humble house where he 


was bom. Tesselschade had refused him, as her sister 
had refused Hooft before, but iu the latter case a light 
fancy had been diverted, in the former an intense passion 
fatally thwarted. There is no reason for building up a 
romantic story that Brederoo died of love for Tesselschade : 
this would be extremely unlikely ; but the innumerable 
poems in which he displays or disguises his in&tuation 
for her person, leave us with no doubt about the depth and 
sincerity of his feeling. He died at the age of thirty-six, 
two years after the death of Shakespeare, and in him 
Holland lost the greatest dramatist she has ever produced. 
Almost simultaneously with the death of Brederoo the 
daughter of Eoemer became acquainted with a friend who 
was destined to take his place and to complete the circle 
of gemus. This was Constantino Huyghens, a young man 
bom two years later than Tesselschade, and now in his 
twenty-second year. He was a Hagenaar, or citizen of 
The Hague, a village entirely given up to politics, and 
with no literary activity. Yet he had read Roemer Visscher^s 
poems with enthusiastic admiration, and had paid a flying 
visit to Amsterdam, to pay homage to the old poet and his 
daughters. But he came of a high and ambitious family, 
and a diplomatic career opened before him. In I6I8, he 
was sent to London in company with the English Ambas- 
sador Carleton, who was a friend of his father's. He was 
presented to James I., then engaged in refreshing the 
weary Synod of Dort by * his godly zeal and fiery sympathy,' 
and in hounding on the Stadtholder to the massacre of the 
Arminians. Huyghens was taken to Oxford, Woodstock, 
Windsor, and Cambridge ; finally, in September 1618, he 
accompanied homewards the English delegates, who were 


proceeding to assist at that weary Synod aforesaid. But 
the most noticeable thing in connection with this visit 
of Huyghens to London, was that he was permitted the 
honour, as he himself puts it, of pressing the hand of that 
incomparable divine poet, John Donne, 

During the agitations of the political crisis, Anna 
Boemer began to develop her literary talent in a remark- 
able degree, and to show the didactic tendencies which 
afterwards entirely absorbed her work. The ' Maeghden- 
Plicht ' of Cats the Emblematist was dedicated to Anna, 
and shows that she had already corresponded with the 
Zealand school of poets. While these literary amenities 
were passing between Amsterdam and Middelburg, the 
fether of Huyghens noted in his diary, with singular 
brevity, on May 13, 1618, ^ Bameveldt beheaded this morn- 
ing, directly after breakfast.' This terrible judicial crime 
was execrated in the circle of Roomer's friends. Hooft 
was united by the strongest bonds of association and 
gratitude to the Stadtholder, but Vondel, at least, was a 
passionate partisan of the Advocate, and he and Coster laid 
no restraint on their scathing satires against the Cromarists 
and Counter-Remonstrants. In this Tesselschade herself, 
as a poem of hers to Vondel proves, ardently joined, and 
in the house of Engelsche Kaai verses were recited in the 
inmost circle, which would have brought the heads that 
read them to prison, if not to the scaflFold. Vondel's burn- 
ing ode, beginning — 

Holland had he hid and carried 

At his heart, 
Till old age, that had not tarried, 

Did its part ; 


But to wash the oaths of cravens 

In his bloody 
And to fatten crows and ravens 

With its flood ? » 

became a kind of watchword among the select company of 
the best spirits of Amsterdam, who met around the board 
of the gentle Anna, and the wronged soul of the great 
Bameveldt held these men and women closer together in a 
bond of protest. From this time forth we find Vondel 
strongly leaning to the Catholic religion. 

As soon as the trimnph of the Calvinists was assured, 
the rigid suppression of the drama began to be relaxed. 
Some magnificent posthumous plays of Brederoo's were 
performed, and Coster shyly came out of his shell, and got 
his Academy once more into working order. Already 
before 1619, Anna is conjectured to have published her 
magnum opus, the descriptive and didactic poem of ' De 
Eoemster van den Aemstel ' (The Glory of the Aemstel), a 
work of which the only known edition is without a date. 
Early in 1620, a second edition of Eoemer's ^Zinne- 
Poppen ' appeared with very considerable emendation and 
enlargement from the hand of Anna. Some of the verses 
attached to her father's work display her pedestrian muse 
at its best. A drawing of a giddy lady, singing to her 
own accompaniment upon the lute, suggests to Anna the 
following sensible little poem: — 

A wife that sings and pipes all day, 
And never puts her lute away, 
No service to her hand finds she ; 
Fie, fie ! for this is vanity ! 

* Appendix MM. 


But is it not a heavenly sight 
To see a woman take delight 
With song or string her husband dear, 
"When daily work is done, to cheer ? 

Misuse may turn the sweetest sweet 
To loathsome wormwood, I repeat ; 
Yea, wholesome medicine, full of grace. 
May prove a poison— out of place. 

They who on thoughts eternal rest. 
With earthly pleasures may be blest ; 
Since they know well these shadows gay. 
Like wind and smoke, will pass away.^ 

There was no fear that the authoress of such cheerful 
lines would l(e decoyed away into the barrenness of religious 
polemic. It has been supposed that Anna visited Zealand 
in this year, but to me it seems extremely improbable that 
in her father's infirm state she, as head of the house, would 
choose to take so long a journey from home. In fact, 
before the year was out, Eoemer Visscher was dead, at the 
age of seventy-five. Two years earlier, in 1618, the famous 
Franz Hals had painted his portrait, a dreamy old man, with 
finely-cut features, slightly recalling those of his daughter 
Tesselflchade ; in the eyes a weary, wistful expression, 
but no trace of sourness. To the last he was the honoured 
centre of the most important literary salon in the north 
of Europe. 

But the circle did not break up with his death, or even 
materially Nchange. From all parts of Holland poetical 
tributes to the memory of their father poured in upon 
the sisters. Hooft wrote two genial epitaphs; Huyghens, 

* Appendix NN. 


who was away in Venice, sent a long poem of condolence.* 
All these elegies presupposed, in their tone, that the same 
welcome would meet all men of genius at the table of Anna 
and Tesselschade as at that of Boemer, and for two or 
three years Anna was at the head of the Amsterdam school 
Meanwhile Laurens Beael had returned after a brilliant 
career. In 1616 he had succeeded Bhijnst as Grovemor- 
Creneral of the Indies, he had defeated the Javanese at 
Batavia, and the English at Amboyna, and now, ripe with 
honours, he came back to Amsterdam tp greet his friends. 
He started from the Moluccas in August 1619, and arrived 
at home in January 1620, to find that his patron and dear 
friend Oldenbameveldt had been degraded, condemned, 
and executed before he himself had left his new splendours 
in Asia. Under the new rule there was little in Holland 
to attract or to solace Beael, and he drew more closely than 
ever to the sisters, at whose house he met Vondel, Hooft, 
and the lovers of the murdered advocate. Vondel himself, 

^ Hnyghens, who was one of the greatest masters of metrical form 
of his age, in one of his epistles to Tesselschade iises, with the 
utmost ease and at great length, a stanza of which this is an ex- 
ample : — 

Die dit praetje 

Uit mijn hert, 
En van binnen, 
Uyt het spinnen 
Van mijn sinnen. 
Hebt ontwert. 

This is more like one of the lovely creations of Victor Hugo or of 
Swinburne than a production of the heavy and fettered Teutonic tongues 
of the seventeenth century. But in respect of mastery over form 
Huyghens is faeile pri/ncept among the Dutch poets of his time or 


in this year, 1621, wrote his remarkable poem, ' The Praise 
of St. Agnes,' in which his strong bias towards the Catholic 
religion first found definite expression. Another old friend 
returned to Amsterdam in 1621; this was Starter, who, 
anxious to collect his lyrical and amorous poems into a 
volume, and finding no type for music at Leeuwarden, came 
up to superintend the publication of his ' Friesche Lust- 
hof,' or ' Frisian Pleasaunce,' an oblong quarto, illustrated 
in the most charming way, and altogether one of the most 
desirable books of that agfe. At the same time he brought 
out at Coster's Academy his tragedy of 'Daraide,' and 
continued to live at Amsterdam, in companionship with 
his old fnends, until 1625, when he wandered away, 
and died obscurely fighting in the Thiity Years' War. 
Huyghens had gone in January 1621, to London, as Secre- 
tary to the Dutch Ambassador, and was dubbed Sir Con- 
stantine in the following year by the sword of James I. 
In March 1623, he returned to the Hague. 

Meanwhile Hooffc had been enjoying the luxury of his 
castle at Muiden since 1609. He found the house in a 
half-ruined condition, and its walls were almost destroyed 
by a great storm in 1612. It therefore became necessary 
to repair it thoroughly, and on this task the poet expended 
a great deal of time and trouble. At last it was completed, 
and sumptuously fitted up, and his charming wife and he 
hastened to press their fnends to visit them. Muiden was 
a picturesque little castle, built four-square, with four 
pointed sexagonal turrets, a chapel and a central quad- 
rangle. It stood in a lake, which itself formed the centre 
of an island contained between the Eiver Vecht and the 
sea, 80 that it was completely isolated, except by a draw- 


Between my groans and sighs of woe^ 

Bathed in my hot tears' burning flow. 

They, faultless, wither on my head. 

Ah ! chew them small with little nips, 
Innocent flock ! but when your lips 

Are weary, and you fall on sleep, 
Muse on the death of my delight, 
That bids me toss in sad despite 

My rosy garland to my sheep. 

For you were near when faith and troth 
Philander swore, who breaks them both, 

And lewdly courts another lass ! 
For you were near, when his sweet words 
Bound my weak heart, and heaven records 

How tender and how false he was ! 

Yet health, and not revenge be found ! 
Give babam for my aching wound. 

Give balsam from the heavenly store ! 
But if revenge your will decree, 
O gods, chastise, but let it be 

The prick of consdence, and no more. 

My sorrow, sure, will make him burn, 
My passion to his passion turn. 

His passion turn again to me ; 
And so, once more, as once hath been, 
No happier pair on earth be seen 

Than Phyllis and Philander be.^ 

But in one instance, the praise of masic, that inspiring 
theme for a lyrical poet, lifted the imagination of Tessel- 
schade into a height which she never approached again. 
The poem called ' Songsters ' is not only her best, but 
worthy of any one of the greatest poets of her age. I 
attempt as literal a rendering as possible of this exquisitely 
musical ode; I adhere, as in all other cases, strictly to the 
metrical form of the original. 

' Appendix PP. 

THE WILD SONGSTEKV, <7 > "/j ^ ^i 

Who with her joyous tale / ^ ^ 

Doth make thy heart rejoice, -. ^^ I V /> ' 

Whether a singing plume she be, or viewless winged Toi6e ; %^ 

Whose warblings, sweet and clear, .-k^-.*/ 

Ravish the listening ear 
With joy, as upward float 
The throbbing liquid Ixills of her enchanted throat ; 

Whose accent pure and ripe 
Sounds like an organ pipe, 
That holdeth divers songs. 
And with one tongue alone sings like a score of tongues. 

The rise and fall again 
In clear and lovely strain 
Of her sweet voice and shrill, 
Outclamours with its song the singing springing rilL 

A creature whose great praise 
Her rarity displays, 
Seeing she only lives 
A month in all the year to which her song she gives. 

But this thing sets the crown 
Upon her high renown. 
That such a little bird as she 
Oan harbour such a strength of clamorous harmony. 



But, wild- wood songster, cease ! 
Draw breath and hold thy peace ! 
Thy notes make no sweet noise 
That can compete for tone with Rosamunda^s voice. 


Who hath so dear an art 
Of whifipering to the heart 
In measured plaintive sobs. 
That, bound in friendship's net, like a snared bird it throb. 

Whose cunning voice instils 
Deep wisdom, while it fills 
The minds of those who hear, 
And makes the soul leap up into the listening ear. 

In moanings low she dies, 
And then with tender sighs, 
In amorous soft conceits 
A world of various tongues she nimbly counterfeits. 

No weariness we know, 
Though from her throat may flow 
Much song ; new pleasures high 
Still charm the insatiate ear with each fresh harmony, 

Here rarer rapture lives 
That fitful music gives ; 
No featheried song so gay 
As this, that summer gives nor winter takes away.^ 

In 1621 Anna was exchanging compliments and verses 
with the famous Peter Paul Bubens, one of whose 
Madonnas she was then copying. She writes to him 
familiarly, and signs herself ^ your friend.' How they 
came to be acquainted does not seem to be known. 

In 1622 Anna paid her long-promised visit to Zealand, 
leaving Tesselschade, it would appear, at home in Amster- 
dam. She arrived at Middelburg, after a long sea-voyage, 
in the early summer, and remained there till the end of 
July. Middelburg was at this time second only to 
Amsterdam in literary vitality, and as a point of feet 
the books produced in the former town were far more 
sumptuously printed and illustrated than those in the 

• Appendix QQ. 


latter. Father Cats, now a man of forty-five, ruled the 
society of the wits ; he was a personage of no little wealth 
and grandeur. Among his literary associates the most 
eminent were Sir Simon van Beaumont, the Pensioner or 
Grovernor of Zealand, a pastoral and lyric writer of no 
mean gifts, Joanna Coomans, called the Pearl of Zealand, 
and Westerbaen, a careful imitator of Cats. Anna was 
welcomed with enthusiasm by these people, and when, 
immediately after her return, the southern poets pub- 
lished, in a very handsome quarto, their collected effusions, 
this book, entitled the ' Zeeusche Nachtegael,' or Zealand 
Nightingale, was dedicated to ' Anna Eoemers, the Dutch 
Sappho,' in terms of rapturous eulogy, the excellent 
Joanna Coomans being especially exuberant in praise, and 
many of Anna's own best pieces were included in this 
production. After this time her heart was always with 
the southern poets, the school of Dort, as they came to 
be called. Tesselschade in the meanwhile moved in the 
old circle of Hooft and his wife, Vondel, Eeael, Starter, 
Coster, and the few other remaining friends of her fatjier ; 
and this fidelity to the earlier companionships continued 
past a crisis in her life which is usually very fatal to 
friendships. In 1622 had appeared the • posthumous 
' Song-Book ' of Brederoo, a publication that bore upon 
it the stamp of the Eoemer circle, with its splendid 
portrait of Brederoo, surrqunded by monodies bearing the 
initials of Coster, Vondel, and Hooft, and containing every 
form of passionate appeal to the heart of Tesselschade, 
' the glory of Amsterdam,' ' goddess bearing the name of the 
island rich in ships,' — that is the Texel, — and many other 
lyrical addresses barely concealing his lady's name from 


the public, to whom no doubt it was well known. These 
references must have been touching to the heart of the 
sweet Tesselschade, who consented, however, in the 
following year, to bury their memory in a less romantic 
passion. She accepted the hand of a sailor, a middle-aged 
widower, Allart Krombalgh, of Alkmaar, her sister Ger- 
trude assisting at the ceremony, on November 1, 1623. 
To all the poets the marriage of their beautiful friend 
was an occasion not to be put by. Vondel wrote several 
pieces on the occasion, and one epithalamium of great 
length and beauty. Huyghens, who had just returned to 
the Hague from his second visit to London, poured out 
his genial soul in poems which displayed, as never before, 
his absolute supremacy over the language, and his un- 
rivalled gifts of form. These exquisite verses flow in a 
measure so buoyant and so rich in rhyme that they ab- 
solutely preclude the idea of translation. Vondel's and 
Hooft's soberer eulogies might be attempted, but space 
fails us. Tesselschade — now, it must be remembered, in 
her thirtieth year, but still radiantly beautiful — went away 
with her husband to live in Alkmaar. Three months 
later Anna followed her example, and bestowed her mature 
charms on Dominicus Booth van Wesel, on January 12, 
1624. This couple proceeded also to North Holland, but 
to a still remoter place, a polder entitled Wieringewaard, 
to the north of Hoorn. So the family that had so long 
formed the nucleus of literary life in Amsterdam had now 
entirely left it. 

Anna appears no more as the friend of the Amsterdam 
school. She corresponded with Hooft, to whom directly 
after her marriage she presented a ' loose peruke.' With 


Cats, now gone to reside at Dort, and with Simon van 
Beaumont she remained on intimate terms ; but she was 
now forty years of age and her literary interests stagnated. 
Tesselschade, on the contrary, wrote with ardour during 
her married life. Already she was busy in translating the 
' Grerusalemme Liberata ' of Tasso, to which Vondel refers 
in his epithalamium, congratulating her on bravely ven- 
turing to the wars with Godfrey ; she patiently continued 
this version, which Hooft revised, and to which there are 
many contemporary references, but, unhappily, it was 
never printed, and somehow, 'as rare things will, it 
vanished.' It may yet reappear, and would be a most 
welcome addition to early Dutch literature. For eleven 
years, from 1623 to 1634, Krombalgh and his poet-wife 
lived in quiet domestic happiness. She bore him two 
daughters, one named Tadea, the other, like herself, 
Maria Tesselschade. Her relations with Hooft remained 
on the most intimate footing. As early as 1621 they 
read Lucian together, and Tesselschade wrote to Hooft in 
Italian. In 1622 we find her sending poems to him for 
correction, and soon after her marriage he writes that his 
heart is fast bound by a triple cord of Tesselschade, Anna, 
and Eeael. It may be said in passing that the merits 
of Eeael had been of too shining an order to allow his 
connection with the murdered Bameveldt to stand in the 
way of his promotion, and he was rapidly rising to the 
highest civil honours. On June 6, 1624, Hooft lost his 
excellent wife Christina, and on July 6 we find him writ- 
ing to Tesselschade what is really a very pathetic and 
touching letter, in spite of its pedantic references, in the 
spirit of that age, to Boethius and Montaigne. His four 


children had preceded their mother to the grave, and 
Hooft, in thetoidst of his luxury at Muiden, was desolate 
indeed. Already in 1625 he was courting the beautiful 
Susanna van Baerle; but he was moreover exceedingly 
busy on the composition of his great historical works. 

The year 1625 was a critical one in the career of 
Vondel. This great genius, one of the most original and 
powerful poetic natures of modern Europe, was approach- 
ing the age of forty not only without having won a very 
wide reputation, but almost without having deserved it. 
Few poets have developed so slowly as Vondel, but on the 
other hand few have continued their production so late. 
The ' Pascha ' in 1612 was his debut^ and he was already 
in his twenty-fifth year ; until 1619 he did little more 
than lay up stores of knowledge and experience, and brood 
in an infinite distress over the bigotry and violence of 
his countrymen, to whom the revolution had brought not 
only liberty but licence. The meeting of the Synod of 
Dort brought about a healthy revulsion in Vondel'smind; 
Baineveldt was dead, Calvinism had triumphed, there 
was now at all events none of the sickening anxiety, the 
hope without hope which had brought so much tension 
into these last years. In 1619 he took leave of the 
Flemish Chamber of the Lavender with the performance 
of his second biblical tragedy, ' Jerusalem Laid Desolate,' 
and went over to the Eglantine. For the next six years 
we find him in the highly-wrought, impassioned attitude 
of defiance to the Calvinistic majority which Alberdingk 
Thijm has known how to reproduce with so much imagi- 
native fidelity in the admirable early scenes of his ' Por- 
tretten.' He waited for the death of Prince Maurice, and 


when that arrived, in 1625, the result of these years of 
silence appeared in Vondel's brilliant lyrical invectives 
against the judicial murder of the Advocate and the 
persecution of Hugo Grrotius, All Amsterdam was up 
in arms, and the poems of Vondel became a burning 
party question. In the midst of this turmoil, his 
tragedy of 'Palamedes, or Murdered Innocence,' was 
brought out, in which the trial of the Advocate was 
painted \mder the transparent veil of a classical list of 
persons. Oldenbameveldt was Palamedes, Prince Maurice, 
Agamemnon; the Stadtholder of Friesland, Diomedes. 
The poet was summoned before the court at Amsterdam, 
threatened with a charge of high treason and a prison at 
the Hague, and finally fined 300 guldens. His enemies 
had hoped to bring him to the gallows, and all they suc- 
ceeded in doing was to extract a small fine, which a rich 
friend of the poet's immediately paid ; moreover, from the 
moment of his trial Vondel was the most &mous man in 
Holland, and a power in politics against the ' Saints of 
Dort,' as the extreme Calvinists were called. 

We must pass hurriedly over the next nine years of 
Tesselschade's life. She lived very happily in Alkmaar 
with her husband, taking a lively interest in literatm*e 
and her friends, and writing and correcting her own poems. 
The success and prosperity of the circle was something 
very remarkable. Brederoo and Starter had been oflFer- 
ings to the jealous gods, but all the rest flourished in the 
most extraordinary way. Cats at Dort and Huyghens 
at the Hague reigned like little kings in the midst of an 
admiring and luxurious society. In 1627 Huyghens 
married Susanna van Baerle, to whom Hooft had been 


Tnaking suit, but the latter, without any bitterness, trans- 
ferred his affections to Leonora Hellmans, and married 
her before the year was out. About this same time arose 
the &mous Anna Maria van Schurman, called the Torch 
of Wisdom, really a very surprising person, one of the 
most learned women that ever lived, who spoke Ghreek 
and wrote Arabic and knew everything. A great fuss 
was made about her, but it is recorded that Hoofb was 
very faithful to his old friend, and being called upon to 
admire the new wonder, replied, ' She smells of the school- 
room ; she cannot hold a rose to our Tesselschade.' In- 
deed, at this distance of time, the charms of Anna van 
Schurman have rather a faded fragrance. In 1626 
Beael went to England as the representative of Holland 
at the coronation of Charles I., and came back to Amster- 
dam Sir Laurence Beael; in 1628 he was Ambassador of 
the States to the court of Denmark. This very serious 
person amused himself on these high journeys by para- 
phrasing in Dutch the ' Basia ' of Joannes Secundus, an 
occupation which strikes the modem reader as a little 
frivolous. He had been better occupied, perhaps, in old 
days in Roemer's house, translating, with Hooft's help, 
Seneca for the instruction of Vondel and Tesselschade who 
knew no Latin. 

In 1630, the Chamber of the White Lavender merged 
itself in Coster's Academy, and Vondel gave a subject on 
the occasion for a prize poem. Hooft was to award the 
prize, and the successful candidate was Tesselschade. I do 
not know what the modem critics who talk about * Mutual 
Admiration ' would say to this transaction, but I have no 
doubt the poem, which we possess and which id very good. 


though a little obscure, deserved its honour. In the same 
year Hooft and his wife paid the Krombalghs a visit at 
their house in Com Street, Alkmaar, and when they re- 
turned brought Tesselschade back with them to Muiden, 
while her husband eflFected a change of house into a better 
locality in Long Street. It was perhaps upon this occasion 
that Hooft wrote his well-known verses describing the way 
Tesselschade spent her time in his house. The seven- 
teenth century did not excel in vera de aoeiSU^ but these 
are above the average of pre-Priorian compliment : — 

Love-god, stem of sovereignty, 

Mark the maiden of the Y, 
Who in her proud youth and story 
Robs thy mother of her glory. 

Blushing cheek, and winsome guile, 

And a lovely artless smile ! 

What employs her leisure so ? 
Thoughts are working, fingers go ! 
Busy are her eyes, drooped sweetly. 
Throat and lips are warbling featly ; 
Youth and joy can have no fence 
^Gainst such dangerous diligence. 

Now she makes the diamond pass 

O'er the dumb face of the glass ; 
Now with golden thread she lingers, 
Painting cloth with nimble fingers ; 

Now the pencil bears, and pen, 

Kindly charming idle men. 

See^ she curves her slender throaf s 
Outline up and down the notes ! 
Or to words her eyes she's liming. 
All her soul gone out in rhyming ! 
Or she bends her gracious tongue 
To the French or Eoman song I * 

J* Appendix RR. 


According toBarlaf^ns, Tesselschade adorned her bouse, 
which was exquisitely fitted up, with paintings of her own ; 
he particularly mentions a flying Psyche, and a landscape of 
Muiden Castle. If her painting was like her poetry, she 
must have tended rather to the classic manner of Poelen- 
burgh than to the style of the Amsterdam realists, among 
whom Rembrandt was now taking a foremost place. In 
1631, Coster and Vondel were at Muiden, and about this 
time Barlaeus was invited there to meet Tesselschade, 
Barlaeus was a man of great learning and energy, who had 
only very lately been able to extricate himself from the 
tedious duties of a country minister. For years and years 
he had been pastor of a little parish on the dull island of 
Overflakkee, with no literary centre nearer to him than the 
rather obscure Chamber of the Thistle at Zierikzee; since 
then he had been away in France, and only now, at the age 
of forty-seven, was he able to mix with men of letters. He 
was a brilliant and ardent person, the best Latinist of the 
day, and he was received at once into the Muiden circle, and 
became the most infatuated of Tesselschade's admirers ; she 
played to him, it appears, successively on the organ, klavier, 
viol, guitar and cithern, and |^he strove in vain to decide 
on which her skill in melody was most divine. In this 
charming way the whole circle lived ; at least at Muiden 
and at Alkmaar it was so. We find Hooft writing: 
' We live here as those dead to the world ; each day is so 
like the other, that life seems a ship becalmed in a dead 
sea of stillness.' Hooft's letters are a most invaluable 
contribution to our knowledge of those times. I know no 
correspondence so distinguished and at the same time so 
playful and intimate. For instance, what a delightful 


piece of absurdity is that letter, of February 1632, in 
which he assures Tesselschade that his wife is no Medea to 
tear little Teetjen Krombalgh in pieces, or make a meal 
off the limbs of Maria ; on the contrary, she is ' a sweet- 
milk heart, full of sugar,' and Tesselschade must hurry to 
bring her little girls to Muiden, where the Hooftsare 
dying to embrace them. In November of the same year, 
Tesselschade presented Hooft's wife and daughter each 
with a goblet engraved by her own hand ; it is said that 
these still exist, and show rare technical skill. A young 
French or Italian musician, Francesca Duarte, about this 
time joined the circle, and shared with Tesselschade 
Hooft's enthusiastic friendship. In 1633, she settled at 
Alkmaar, and this gave the Hoofts an excuse for visiting 
both families in that year. 

But a great sorrow waited for them behind all this 
happiness. On May 28, 1634, Hooft wrote a long letter, 
begging Tesselschade to come and read Marini with him, 
upbraiding her with neglecting poetry, and asking her 
what she thought of some translations Huyghens had been 
making from John Donne. Eeceiving no reply, he grew 
anxious, and at last sent a messenger to Alkmaar, who 
returned with news that the eldest daughter Tadea (Teetjen), 
was very ill with small-pox. Full of anxiety he communi- 
cated the fact to Huyghens and others, but in June he has 
to report not only that little Teetjen is dead, but that Krom- 
balgh himself has succumbed to the disease. Huyghens 
has recorded that the child was bled to death, and Hooft 
uses the same expression about the father. It may be 
supposed that this was the result of a foolish attempt to 
allay the violent secondary fever, in accordance with the 


ignorant practice of the time. At all events, our poetess 
was thus at one blow left a widow, and deprived of her 
eldest child. 

She bore this sorrow with an exquisite patience. Hooft, 
who supported her through this terrible trial with the 
most friendly fidelity, wrote that the heroes might go to 
school to this much more enduring heroine. He very 
wisely recommended her to silence her memories of the 
past by renewed devotion to literary work, and she took 
his advice. She resumed her version of Tasso, and worked 
on upon it until it was finished, no slight or holiday pastime 
for a woman to complete. It would seem that nobody 
was poor in Holland in those halcyon days, and Krombalgh 
had left his widow well provided for. With her daughter, 
the young Tesselschade, a child in every way worthy of so 
beautiful and so distinguished a mother, she retired to a 
house called Belvedere, outside the town of Alkmaar, in a 
wood, ai^d here she spent the next eight years in great con- 
tentment. Barlaeus has dedicated a whole Latin poem, 
one of his best, to the description of this house, which 
Tesselschade adorned with all manner of artistic objects 
paintings by her own hand, tapestries, porcelain, the 
wonders of the newly-opened and still fabulous East. 
The poet gives a charming picture of his friend, sericd 
m veate aplsTideiWy shimmering in her satin dress, in her 
lovely garden, her lute at her hand, as pretty a figure, 
surely, as ever Netscher or Metzu painted for us in boudoir 
or courtyard. It must not be supposed, however, that she 
gave herself up to a frivolous life ; on the contrary, her 
writings became tinged with a serious, almost a pietistic 
colour, and she wrote many spiritual poems, among which 


her hymn to St. Mary Magdalene is the best known. It 
begins : — 

Adorned or unadorned art thou^ Magdalene, 
As with unhroidered hair thou jewel-less art seen. 
Thy chain of pearls undone, thy shining geld profaned, 
And all that men esteem as vile and false disdained ; 
Since these can well betray thy tender youth from heaven, 
And he a stumhling-block that were for pleasure given P 
Godfearing woman, hail ! Cling fast, as to a wall 
That neither time can move nor gloomy fate make fall.^ 

Her verse now reminds the critic in no way of Hooft, 
but of the more massive and robust style of Vondel. 
Indeed, at this time her relations with the latter poet were 
very intimate, and he himself was passing through a 
remarkable period of transition. Still nominally a Pro- 
testant, it is recorded by Brandt, his first biographer, that 
he was powerfully drawn towards Eome by a beautiful 
widow lady, and it has always been understood that this 
lady was Tesselschade. Vondel's wife was now dead, and 
in his isolation at Amsterdam his heart went out in tender 
passion towards the sweet poetess at Alkmaar, in whom he 
found so close and so intelligent a sympathy. There does 
not seem to have been any talk of marriage between them ; 
she easily made his sensitive spirit imderstand that she 
would not accept again the risks of so near a tie, but the 
love was great on his side and no doubt responded to on 
hers. News that the great Vondel was going over to the 
Popish Church, seems to have found its way to the Hague, 
and the energetic Huyghens, who was a staunch Protestant, 
and had just brought out a volume of divine poems, 
thought it his duty to upbraid Tesselschade, and, if it 

* Appendix SS. 


might be, convert her. He set about his pious task in 
furious style, and attacked his gentle friend in poems and 
epistles, till at last she could bear it no longer, and 
entreated Barlaeus to take up the cause on her behalf. 
Nothing could be more welcome to Barlaeus, and Huyghens 
suddenly found himself stung in excellent Latin verse, and 
reproached for his cruelty. He replied that he loved the 
child too much to spare the rod, but his versatile mind 
soon wearied of this puritanic fervour, and he returned 
humbly to his old adulation. Meanwhile it soon appeared 
why Barlaeus had been so ready in the defence : he had 
been sighing to Hooft of his wretched condition as a 
widower, and now he laid his laurels and his heart at the 
feet of Tesselschade. Never was a poetess so lyrically 
wooed : the poems of Barlaeus to Tesselschade are so 
numerous that they form a whole section of his poetical 
works, under the heading ' Tessalica.' He sung of her in a 
boat at sea, playing the organ in Alkmaar Church, singing 
with Francesca Duarte, riding on horseback ; he sung to 
other people about her, to Huyghens sleeping under her 
roof, to Hooft about to receive a visit from her ; but in 
every poem he exalted her priceless worth and beauty, and 
insinuated that he alone should guard it. For a long time 
she bore this hot siege with patient amusement ; Huyghens 
and Hooft, anxious, perhaps, to frustrate the hopes of 
Vondel, encouraged Barlaeus in every way. At last, in a 
letter about other matters, she enclosed a copy of a stanza 
of Cats, which runs as follows : — 

When a valvM shell of ocean 

Breaks one side or loses one. 
Though you seek with all devotion 

You can ne'er the loss atone, 


Never make again tlie edges 

Bite together, tooth for tooth, 
And, just so, old love alleges 

Nought is like the hearths first troth.^ 

The generous Barlaeus understood the hint, and pressed 
his suit no more ; but his warm-hearted, intimate friend- 
ship was no whit slackened by the disappointment.^ In 
1639, Tesselschade came up to Amsterdam, with her 
friend Francesca Duarte, to sing before the French Queen 
Dowager, Maria de' Medicis, and to present to her an 
Italian poem of her own composition. She was at this 
time busy translating into Dutch the * Adonis ' of Marini ; 
this work, like her Tasso, has unhappily been lost. A 
new race of young literati, now springing up, claimed her 
patronage, and laid their first-fruits before her. The 
poetess Alida Bruno claimed her as her poetic mother ; 
two young dramatists destined to a great reputation, Vos 
the pupil of Vondel, and Geraerdt Brandt the protegS of 
Barlaeus, sought the honour of her friendship. The 
Old Chamber of the Eglantine had in 1631 become 
merged in the Academy, and the stage of the latter had 
proved inadequate as a national theatre. It was rebuilt 
on a grander scale and opened in January 3, 1638, by the 
performance of one of the greatest works in the Dutch 
language, Vondel's immortal tragedy of ' Grijsbrecht van 
Aemstel,' a drama that still lives on the stage, and enjoys 
a traditional popularity, when much of the admirable 
literature of that age exists only for antiquarians. In 
1639, Vondel dedicated to Tesselschade his version of the 

» Appendix TT. 

* For this story Scheltema is responsible ; I cannot find that the 
letter is in existence. 

T 2 


The critics of the last century, whose idea of sesthetic 
analysis not unfrequently seems to have been to form a 
mosaic of such little bits of a poet as could in some d^^ree 
be held to resemble little bits of earlier poets, found in 
Milton a wide field for their ingenious labour. With an 
extraordinary memory and a taste for poetry that far over- 
flowed the conventional banks of English and classical 
literature, Milton, at the outset of his career, seems to 
have steeped his imagination in the fine thoughts of almost 
all the European poets, and to have occasionally combined 
or reproduced their felicities in his own verse. But when 
his blindness came upon him, and he was more and more 
thrown for refreshment back upon the stores of his 
memory, he was unable, and, perhaps, not anxious, to 
ascertain whether a noble fancy or a chord of melody that 
floated in his brain was or was not his own in any sense 
but that of conquest. Like Groethe, he had the august 
arrogance of a supreme poet who is conscious that he con- 
fers immortality on a thought by stealing it, and that 
what is stolen leaves his lips so glorified in expression that 
it has become a new thing. A great deal of foolishness 
has been said about plagiarism ; to plagiarise is the 
instinct, the characteristic audacity of almost every poet 

MILTON. 279 

of the highest class. It is only when it is committed by 
a small poet or poetaster — in other words, when skill is 
wanted, and the hand of the thief is seen in the pocket of 
the owner — that the action becomes blamable, because 
contemptible. To carry out no further an argument that 
may to some readers seem paradoxical, it is at least certain, 
for praise or blame, that the later poems of Milton are 
studded with memories, more or less faint or vivid, of the 
works of numerous previous writers. The French didactic 
poet, Du Bartas, whether in the original or in the transla- 
tion of Joshua Sylvester, supplied him with ideas ; some fine 
images and a whole train of thought were taken from the 
richly coloured ' Christ's Victory and Triumph ' of the 
younger Giles Fletcher ; even Cowley's * Davideis ' was 
laid under contribution for * Paradise Lost.' These sug- 
gestions and reminiscences have been frequently dwelt 
upon, but not so much attention has been paid to the still 
bolder appropriations Milton made from various foreign 
writers. Some notice, but to an inadequate extent, has, 
indeed, been taken of the influence on the great English 
epic of the ' Adamo ' of the Italian dramatist, J. B. And- 
reini, who died shortly before Milton commenced his great 
task. The ' Adamus Exul ' of Hugo Grrotius, published in 
1601, has not escaped the notice of Milton's last and best 
biographer. Dr. Alfred Stem. It is probable that a close 
study of Italian and Spanish literature would bring to light 
many more cases of Miltonic adaptation and suggestion. 
But the most full and curious of all is one which has, indeed, 
been frequently pointed out in a cursory manner, but never, 
to the knowledge of the present writer, been caretiiily 
investigated. This is the amount to which Milton was 



indebted in his sketch of the Fall of the fiebel Angels to 
the choral drama of * Lucifer,' by the Dutch poet Vondel. 

The Dutch language was not so little studied in the 
beginning of the seventeenth century as it now is. Eliza- 
beth, being in some sort looked upon as the head of the 
Reformed party throughout Europe, supplied help to the 
Netherlands in their revolt against Spain ; and when the 
United Provinces, after their almost single-handed and 
heroic struggles, succeeded in establishing for themselves, 
not merely independence, but a foremost place among the 
States of Europe, there was a good deal of diplomatic 
coquetting between Holland and England before the ulti- 
mate jealousy and hatred set in. The sudden political 
start made by Holland was almost immediately succeeded 
by the creation of a brilliant literature. Within twenty 
years after the proclamation of the Federal Commonwealth 
of the Seven United Provinces, in 1581, all the greatest 
names in Dutch literature were bom. It was a time of 
great imaginative revival all over the North of Emope. 
The same period saw the birth of Arrebo and of Stjernhelm, 
respectively destined to be the fathers of Danish and of 
Swedish poetry ; and of Martin Opitz, in whom German 
literature threw out its first modern blossom. In England 
the great Elizabethan school was at its climax, and light 
and heat radiated from London through all the Beformed 
countries. But in Holland, more than anywhere else, all 
the elements of imaginative production seemed concen- 
trated and intensified in a brief period of brilliance. 

In the last chapter I have given a rapid outline of the 
rise and development of this literature, and I have traced 
the lives of the principal Dutch poets down to the year 

VONDEL. 281 

1649. Vondel was then in his sixty-fifth year, and had 
reached that time of life [at which work is usually laid 
aside, the harvest of the brain being reaped and garnered- 
It was not so however with this great man. The decline 
of life, the loss of friends, the burden of poverty only in- 
creased the light of his singularly heroic geiuus. In 1641 
he had joined the Church of Eome, in 1644 Christina of 
Sweden, whose tendencies were Popish, had honoured him 
with a golden chain, and her portrait. These events had 
not increased the favour with which his Protestant fellow- 
citizens regarded him, nor did his didactic poem ' Altaerge- 
heimenissen ' (Mysteries of the Altar) add to his popularity. 
On the other hand his tragedy of * iMaria Stuart ' brought 
him much praise and profit in 1646. Vondel, it may be 
remarked, was the first poet to select for dramatic treat- 
ment this highly romantic theme ; at Mary's death he was 
two years old, and therefore in some sense her contemporary. 
In 1648 he celebrated the Peace of Munster by the 
performance of ' Leeuwendalers,' a pastoral in the style of 
Tasso or Gruarini. After the death of his dear friend 
Tesselschade in 1649, he gave over the stocking-shop in 
Warmoesstraat to his eldest son, and went to live on the 
Cingel, then the limit of Amsterdam, with his daughter 
Anna. In 1653 he was made the president of the Guild 
of St. Luke, being crowned on the occasion by the famous 
painter, Bartholomeus van der Heist. . He completed the 
long list of his biblical tragedies with the ' Solomon ' in 
1649. It was in his daughter's house that he completed, 
in his sixty-seventh year, the masterpiece of his life-time, 
the most brilliant poetical work in the Dutch language. 
This was the * Lucifer,' which was brought out with great 



display of scenic heavens, but after two nights withdrawn 
on account of the great expense it involved. It was then 
printed in 1654. Milton was living in the 'pretty garden- 
house opening into the park,' and still acting as Secretary 
to the Council of State, although his failing sight had led 
him, some months before, to suggest Marvell as his succes- 
sor. In April peace had been made between England and 
the United Provinces, and there was a temporary cessation 
of hostilities. There can be little doubt that Milton, who 
had received regular lessons in the Dutch language from 
Eoger Williams, kept himself well versed in the best current 
Dutch literature. There were frequent interchanges of 
scholarly civilities. Huyghens had been in London within 
Milton's manhood, burning incense to the English poets, and 
carrying back to Holland memories, and, alas ! imitations of 
the great John Donne. Such a poet as Hooft, kindred in 
so many ways to Milton's own youth, divided as it was 
between Puritanism and the worship of beauty, between 
pietism and sensuous paganism, cannot but have attracted 
his learned and curious mind. Hence, one may well believe 
that immediately on the publication of Vondel's * Lucifer » 
a copy found its way to Milton ; it may have been one of 
the last books hejead with his own faded eyes. Four years 
afterwards — that is, in 1658 — he is supposed to have com- 
menced 'Paradise Lost,' and in 1667, thirteen years later 
than the Dutch drama, it saw the light. 

We all know that, in the great English epic, the Fall 
of the Angels forms a vast episode in the story of the Fall 
of Man. In * Lucifer,' the angels fill the foreground, and 
man is secondary and out of sight. The scene of the Dutch 
drama is laid in heaven itself, and never leaves it. Above, 

' LUCIFER' 283 

just beyond our vision, God remains apart, ineffable ; below, 
the new-created human couple walk their paradise ; but we 
never trespass on the domain of either. The persons are 
all angels, and when the curtain rises they are all blessed 
and serene. This apparent serenity, however, is the mask 
of a suspicion that has hardly ripened into ill-fieeling. 
Beelzebub and Belial are discovered in conversation when 
the drama opens ; and we learn from the first that Apollyon 
has been sent by Lucifer, the Stadtholder of the States of 
Heaven, to make a closer investigation of Adam's bliss, and 
the condition in which God has placed him. Belial, lean- 
ing from the sheer heights, sees Apollyon rising from circle 
to circle, outspeeding the wind, and leaving a track of 
splendour behind him. He soars into the blue hyaline of 
heaven, while the celestial spheres almost pause upon their 
courses as they lean to gaze upon his countenance ; he 
seems to them no angel, but a flying fire. At last, like a 
star, he alights on the rim of heaven, and bears in his hand 
a golden branch. Beelzebub praises the blossom and fruit 
of this branch in very luscious alexandrines; its golden 
leaves are studded with aerial dew, and between them the 
jocund fruit glows with crimson and with gold. It would 
be a pity to rend it with the hands : the very sight of it 
fascinates the mouth. If such fruits can be eaten in Eden, 
the bliss of angels must give way to men. To this light 
hyperbole Apollyon responds eagerly and seriously, and his 
listeners are roused to inquire in what this felicity of man 
consists. He gives a very spirited and poetical account of 
his journey to the earth, and a vivid but rather rococo 
description of the wonders and beauties of the earthly 
paradise, which he praises as far more varied and exquisite 


than the heavenly. He passes to the subject most interest- 
ing to his hearers — the nature and functions of the inhabi- 
tants of this garden. It seems that at the moment that 
he fluttered on wide pinions over Eden, Adam was giving 
names to all the animals^ Grriffins and eagles were obe- 
dient to this man^ and dragons and Behemoth, and even 
Leviathan, while the trees and bushes rang with melody. 
But of all marvels this has amazed him most, that the 
two inmates of the garden have power subtly to weave 
together body and soul, and create double angels, out of 
the same clay- flesh and bones. It is for this purpose, no 
doubt, that God has just made these two strange creatures, 
that he may reap from them a rich harvest of souls. 
Apollyon watches, with an agony of jealousy and longing, 
their joyous dalUance ; and at last, with infinite pain, tears 
himself away from a scene in which he can have no part. 
But of all the beauties and wonders, he praises Woman 
most, and grows so ecstatic that he declares — 

Search all our angel bands, ia beauty well arrayed, 
They will but monsters seem, by the dawn-light of a maid. 
JBedz. It seems you bum in love for this new woman-kind I 
ApoU, My great wing-feather in that amorous flame, I find 

Fve singed ! 'Twas hard indeed to soar up &om below, 
To sweep, and reach the vejge of Angelborough so ; 
I parted, but with pain, and three times looked around ; 
There shines no seraph-form in all the sethereal bound 
Like hers, whose hanging hair, in golden glory, seems 
To rush down from her head in a torrent of sunbeams, 
And flow along her back. So clad in light and grace. 
Stately she treads, and charms the daylight with her &ce : 
Let pearls and mother o' pearl their claims before her furl. 
Her brightness passes far the beauty of a pearl ! 
JBeelz, But what can profit man this beauty that must fade. 
And wither like a flower, and shortly be decayed ? ^ 

* Appendix W. 

' LUCIFEE.' 286 

The description that closes with the passage above quoted 
bears many striking points of resemblance to the Fourth 
Book of Milton's epic. What follows is contrary to the pur- 
pose of the English poet. ApoUyon goes on to explain that 
an eternity is assured to mankind by a tree of immortal life 
which he has seen in the midst of Eden, by eating the fruit 
of which man will live for ever, and the number and power 
of his children be eternally on the increase. The key-note 
of the drama is then struck, for Beelzebub, quivering with 
jealousy, exclaims — 

Man thus has power and scope to wax above our heads. 

At this moment a trumpet is heard, and the hosts of 
heaven assemble. Gabriel, ^ chief of the angelic guards,* 
appears, attended with the chorus of cherubim, sent as 
herald from the throne of Grod. His message is to this 
eflfect : Grod has created man a little lower than the angels, 
in order that, in the process of time, he may ascend 
the staircase of the world into the summit of uncreated 
light, the infinite glory. Though the spiritual race now 
seems to overtop all others, yet Grod has from eternity 
concluded to exalt the human race, and to transport them 
into a splendour] which is not dififerent from that of Grod. 
The eternal Word, clothed in flesh and bone, anointed as 
Lord and Head and Judge, you shall see give law to all the 
troops of spirits, angels, and man, from his unshadowed 
kingdom. Then the clear flame of seraphim shall seem 
dark beside the godlike splendour of man. This is destiny, 
and an unrevokable destiny. A burst from the chorus- 
Whatever Heaven decrees shall please the heavenly host — 


softens the severity of Gabriel's demeanour, and he passes 
on to discuss the present state of the angelic orders. 
Vondel's conceptions in this respect are simply those of St. 
Thomas Aquinas and Dante : we . seem to move in the 
fourteenth century, as we read of the inmost hierarchy of 
seraphim, cherubim, and thrones ; of the second of domi- 
nations, virtues, powers, and the outer hierarchy of prin- 
cipalities, archangels, and angels. We must remember, 
however, that Milton also was not free from the technical 
expressions of a celestial cosmogony that the researches of 
science had already exploded. To return to the earlier part 
of Gabriel's charge, it will be noted that Vondel, though 
shadowy in his theology, ftilly escapes that rock of Arian 
heresy on which Milton struck in his Sixth Book ; but, 
once started on the primuTn mobile^ he wanders on in a 
sufficiently tedious prolixity. At length, however, the 
speech of Gabriel ceases, and the first act closes with a long 
antiphonal ode from the chorus. As this passage — almost 
the only one hitherto translated into English — ^was ren- 
dered with some success by the late Sir John Bowring, I 
will not attempt to give a version of it here. It is a long 
rhapsody in praise of the divine attributes, expressed in 
language of exceptional sublimity, and with a mingling of 
daring theological dogma with organ-harmony of music 
which is not unworthy of those that 'sing, and singing in 
their glory move.' 

In reviewing this first act, we see that, as in ' Paradise 
Lost,' jealousy is the seed out of which the shoot and flower 
of rebellion bear such rapid fruit of destruction. But 
whereas in that poem, in almost precisely similar terms, 
God himself commands obedience to the Son, ' whom this 

* LUCIFEB.' 287 

day I have begot,' and proclaims His superiority to the 

angels, which enflames them to sullen revolt, it is here the 

ignominy of watching the crescent supremacy of the vile 

rival man, bom of the dust, that rouses the jealous anger 

of the Princes of Angelborough. The causes are widely 

distinct ; the consequences are curiously identical. But 

wa must not press on too fast : when the first act closes, all 

appears docile and quiet in heaven ; if complaint there be, 

it finds no voice in words. 

But the second act opens in startling contrast to this 

universal subj^tion. Lucifer himself enters, attended by 

Beelzebub and other of his own familiar (followers. They 

draw rein in this quiet place, and the leader opens discourse 

as follows : — 

Swift spirits, let us stay the chariot of the dawn, 

For high enough, in sooth, God's moming-star is drawn, 

Yea, driven up high enough ! 'tis time for my great car 

To yield before the advent of this double star. 

That rises from below, and seeks, in sudden birth. 

To tarnish heaven's gold with splendour from the earth ! 

Embroider no more crowns on Lucifer's attire, 

And gild his forehead not with eminent dawn-fire 

Of the moming-star enrayed, that rapt archangels prize. 

For see another blaze in the light of God arise I 

The stars grow feint before the eyes of men below ; 

Tis night with angels, and the heavens forget to glow.^ 

In this tone of almost petulant indignation the Stadt- 
holder of Heaven proceeds, and only ceases to call the 
attention of Beelzebub to the sound that reaches them from 
&r away. It is the trumpet of Grabriel, who pronounces 
the same disastrous message at another of the gates of 
Angelborough. The melancholy of Lucifer is stirred and 
roused by the passionate declamations of Beelzebub, who 

* Appendix WW. 


cries that an earth-worm has crept out of a clod of earth 
that he, the lord of heaven, might with downcast eyes and 
bended knees adore it. Lucifer had best not wait for the 
order to lay down his sceptre, but leave his throne at once, 
and take the lyre in hand, ready, at the first sight of man, 
to smite its chords with a. servile plectrum. All this 
ironical advice is little to the taste of the prince. 

Nay, that will I resist, so be it in my power, 

he cries; and Beelzebub takes instant advantage of his 
defiance to build him up in conceit of his own majesty and 
power. His ever-crescent light, the first and nearest 
God's, no captious decree can diminish, no upstart mortal 
approach. Shall a voice of lower pitch thunder from the 
throne ? To carry out this vain design of promoting man, 
were to violate the sacred right of the eldest child's inherit- 
ance. Such an assumption, actually forced on the angelic 
orders, might provoke all heaven armed against one. 
Lucifer replies in a spirit of patriotic devotion, which has 
nothing of the rebel angel in it, but is rather inspired by 
the recent memories of the holy struggle of the United 
Provinces against Spain : ' If I am a child of the light, a 
ruler over the light, I shall preserve my prerogative. I 
budge before no tyrant, nor archtyrant Let who wilJ 
budge, I will not yield a foot Here is my fatherland. 
Let me perish, so long as I perish with this crown upon 
my head, this sceptre in my fist, and so many thousands 
of dear friends around me. That fall will tend to honour 
and unwithering praise, 

En liever d'eerste Vorst in eenigh lager hof, 

Dan in't gezalight licht de tweede, of noch een minder. 

' LUCIFER.' 289 

* and better to be first prince of some lower court, than in 
the blessed light to be second, or even less.' These two 
lines are not less famous in Holland than is with us that 
single line, in which Milton intensified the expression of 
Vondel's idea in half the number of words. But in the 
midst of these vague desires and unshaped instincts of 
defiance, the chariot of Grabriel, in whose hands the book 
of God's mysteries lies folded, is driven their way, and 
Lucifer determines to question the herald further as to the 
actual import of this message that so trenches on angelic 
pride. Beelzebub leaves him, and the two great princes 
meet. Lucifer addresses Gabriel with a frank statement 
of his doubts and apprehensions. For what purpose has 
the eternal Grace humiliated its children ? Why has the 
angel nature been thus precipitated into dishonour ? Will 
God unite eternity to a beginning, the highest to the lowest^ 
the Creator to the created ? Must innumerable God-like 
spirits, unweighted by bodies, bow before the gross and 
vile element of mortal clay? He closes by entreating 
Gabriel to unlock the sealed book he holds, and explain to 
his wondering intelligence this terrible paradox. To this 
eloquent appeal Gabriel has no very intelligible reply to 
give ; he repeats the statement of destiny, he charges the 
Stadtholder with obedience ; but he fails to give any very 
salient reasons for a decree that must have startled and 
perplexed himself. ' Obey God's trumpet ! you have heard 
His will I ' is the sum of the explanation that he has to give. 
Lucifer then draws a picture of the misery of those coming 
days, when he will have to see man sitting beside the Deity 
upon His throne, and watch the incense-censers swinging to 
the sound of thousand thonsand unanimous chorales, each 


bar of which will dull the majesty and diamond rays of the 
Morning Star, and echo like wailing in the courts of heaven. 
Gabriel interposes occasionally with commonplaces about 
obedience, duty, and contentment, while the lament of 
Lucifer grows keener and shriller as he mourns beforehand 
over the ruin of his dignity. Nay, even of God's dignity ; 
for he declares that if the fountain of light is to plunge its 
splendour into the pit of a morass, the heavens will be 
struck blind, the stars whirl and fall dizzily into space, 
and disorder and chaos rule in Paradise. It is to give God 
His right that he thus presumes to oppose His decree. To 
which Gabriel pertinently, if rather prosaically, answers: 
* You are very zealous for the honour of God's name ; but 
without considering that God knows much better than you 
do in what His greatness consists.' He quells the murmurs 
of the Stadtholder with some sharp words about the necessity 
of cheerful obedience, and bids him see to it that his feet 
walk in the steps of God's revealed wisdom. Beelzebub, 
being left alone with Lucifer, hastens to point out to him 
that the obvious efifect of this new edict will be to clip the 
wings of the Stadtholder's authority, which, indeed, the 
latter needs no argument to perceive. Lucifer vows to 
take his honour into his own hands ; he will raise his seat 
into the very centre of heaven, past all the circles with 
their starry glory. The heaven of heavens shall furnish 
him with a palace, the rainbow shall be his throne. On a 
chariot of clouds, borne up on air and light, he will crush 
and override all opposition, even from the Lord of earth 
himself. Or, if he falls, the transparent arch of heaven 
shall burst like a bubble, and all the universe crash in chaos. 
He summons ApoUyon to council. In the dialogue that 

* LUCIFER.' 291 

ensues some dramatic skill is shown, though Vondel's force 
lies rather in description, in gorgeous expression, and in 
lyric rhetoric, than in the true field of the drama. Lucifer 
is flushed and arrogant ; Beelzebub, an ethereal lago, hounds 
him on to rebellion ; ApoUyon is prudential and diflBdent, 
a graceful courtier, who hints a weak point and hesitates 
diflSculties. The argument of the latter is that Michael, 
God's Field-Marshal, holds the key of the armoury ; the 
watch is entrusted to him, and not a star can move without 
his thorough consciousness. He finally exemplifies the 
serene strength of the Deity by saying that although the 
Castle of Heaven should set its diamond gates wide open, 
it would fear not craft, nor ambush, nor attack. Lucifer, 
however, decides that the attempt must be made ; but first 
of all ApoUyon is sent to direct Belial to sound the minds 
of the angels ; the ' persuasive accents ' of Belial, as in 
* Paradise Lost,' being set great store by for their power of 
eloquent dissimulation, since 

Ms tongue 
Ih*6pt manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels. 

It may be said, in passing, that the figure of Beelzebub, 
though to less marked a degree, resembles the grand 
figure so named in Milton's poem. Lucifer and Beelzebub 
ascend and disappear : Belial enters with ApoUyon, who 
is now eloquent in the course he lately shunned, and Belial 
needs no persuasion. They pass to whisper the project of 
rebeUion far and wide among the Orders. While they are 
busied in this work, the stage is crowded with the Chorus 
of loyal angels, who contemplate, as from the Primum 

u 2 


Mobile, the Hierarchies circling in the Crystalline 
Heaven, illuniinated by the uncreated light, as Dante in | 
the 'Paradise' gazed on the snow-white Rose of the 
Blessed. They witness with alarm the change that comes 
over the snowy, starry purity of the Orders. 

Why seem the courteous angel-faces 

So red ? Why streams the holy light 

So red upon our sight, 
Through clouds and mists from mournful places P 

What vapour dares to blear 

The pure, unspotted, clear 

And luminous sapphire P 

The flame, the blaze, the fire 
Of the bright Omnipotence P 
Why does the splendid light of God 
Glow, deepened to the hue of blood, 

That late, in flowing thence, 
Gladdened all hearts P ^ 

What is the cause, they cry ? Since, but now, all the 
balconies and battlements of heaven were thronged by 
myriads of happy faces, singing the praise of Man 1 The 
Anti-chorus takes up its parable in reply — 

When we, enkindled and uplifted 

By Gabriers trumpet, in new ways 

Began to chant God^s praise. 
The perfume of rose-gardens drifted 

Through paths of Paradise, 

And such a dew and such a spice 
Distilled, that all the flowery grass 
Rejoiced. But envy soon, alas ! 

From the under-world came sneaking. 
A mighty crowd of spirits, pale 
And dumb and wan, came, tale on tale, 

Displeased, some new thing seeking ; 
With brows that crushed each scowling eye. 

And happy foreheads bent and wrinkled ; 
The doves of heaven here on high. 

* Appendix XX. 

O ^'> 4' 

Whose innocent pinions sweetly twinl^d, />> y^^ ^ /* 
Are struck with mourning one and all, \ ^-^ V -^ ' 

As though the Heavens were far too small \ • K r ' 

For them, now Adam's been elected, ^ ^ ^ x ^ 

And such a crown for Man selected. ^, ^ 

This blemish blinds the light of grace, 
And dulls the flaming of God's face.^ 

This ode, which is here rendered with scrupulous adher- 
ence to the original, is an interesting example of the alterna- 
tion of exquisite with tawdry and prosaic imagery, and noble 
with flat and poor expression, which is characteristic of 
most of Vondel's writings. These choruses at the close 
of each act are not peculiar to the ' Lucifer,' but conmion 
to Dutch dramatic poetry generally. We have in English 
an exactly analogous example in the * Cleopatra' of 
Samuel Daniel, a tragedy written in rhymed verse, with 
solemn choral variations. 

In the second act the rebellion was confined to the 
desires of a few princes ; in the third act it has taken 
fast hold of the multitude. The whole process is precisely 
that recounted in Book V., lines 616-710, of 'Paradise 
Lost.' Belial and ApoUyon have passed far and wide among 
the ranks of the angels, and, while calling them together 
under the banner of Lucifer, have ' cast between ambiguous 
words and jealousies to sound or taint integrity.' The 
angels are discovered huddling together, with all their 
beauty tarnished, drowned in grief and deep sunk in their 
own melancholy thoughts, and, ever and anon, with one 
voice they cry — 

Alas ! alas ! alas ! where has our bliss departed ? 

The loyal Chorus are properly displeased with this 

> Appendix YY 


excessive and groundless show of depression. They declare 
that Heaven freezes with the wind of their lamentations. 
The azure ether is not accustomed to hear a music of 
affliction go up in vapour through its joyous vault. 
Triumphs, songs, and symphonies on stringed instruments 
hefit the blessed. They call upon their fellow-choristers 
to aid them in cheering these sorrowful souls. But the 
Luciferists, as they are now called, only repeat their 
monotonous cry — 

Alas I alas ! alas ! where has our bliss departed ? 

The Chorus reminds them of their being. They were 
born to be joyous ; brought forth, like flowers, upon a 
beam of the glory of Grod ; created to hover and flash 
through the unshadowed light of life. At last the Luci- 
ferists inquire if the Chorus is really in earnest in asking 
them why they mourn ; is it not well enough known that 
the angels have fallen from their high estate to make 
room for the dull brood of Man? The charter giv^-by 
Grod has been repealed ; the sun of spirits is gfiddenly 
gone down, and, burying their faces in their folded wings, 
they repeat once more their miserable refrain. The 
Chorus, excellent persons with whom the reader finds it a 
little difficult to have patience, exclaim : ' How dare you 
censure the high ordinance ? This seems like a revolt I 
my brothers, cease this lamentation and defiance, and 
bow yourselves under the inevitable yoke 1 ' This ex- 
emplary advice is severely criticised by the Luciferists ; 
and a long discussion ensues, in which each party says a 
single line, after the occasional manner of most Greek 
plays. The ball of argument is tossed from hand to hand, 

' LUCIFER.* 295 

and both speak well, the Luciferists, however, with most 
point and wit. The great seducers, Belial and ApoUyon, 
then come upon the scene, and afifect the greatest surprise 
at the appearance of the ranks of angels plunged in sorrow 
and wrapped about with desolation. They inquire, with 
simulated anxiety, into the cause of this ; but the Luci- 
ferists are sad beyond speech, and the Chorus replies: 
' They mourn, that the state of Man triumphs, that God 
will entwine His being with Adam's, and spirits be subject 
to human authority. There you learn briefly the ground 
of their sorrow.' The Chorus further begs that Belial will 
settle the dispute ; but without advantage to itself, for the 
angel-princes take, of course, the rebel standpoint, and 
argue with more subtlety than the lower Luciferists. The 
wrangling progresses farther, the one side continually 
preferring their charge of a promise! broken, a charter 
disannulled, and the other repeating in a variety of shapes 

the formula that 

Obedience pleases God, the ruler of our day, 

Far more than incense clouds or godlike music may. 

Belial at last sums up in saying — 

Equality of grace would fit the Godhead best ; 

a rebellious assumption of superior justice, which rouses 
the Chorus to a somewhat long-winded summary of the 
contrast between the supremacy of the Creator and the 
subjection of the created. During the closing words of 
this harangue, the clouds and lurid fiery blaze increase, 
and out of the sinister gloom appears Beelzebub. On his 
appearance, the miserable Luciferists repeat their uniform 
cry. The new-comer consoles them, and bids them be of 
good cheer — 


Oh cease from, wailixig ; rend your badges and your robes 
No longer without cause, but make your &ces bright. 
And let your foreheads flash, children of the light ! 
The shrill sweet throats, that thank the Deity with song. 
Behold, and be ashamed that ye have mixed so long 
Discords and bastard tones with music so divine.^ 

The followers of Lucifer reply. They are now so 
enraged that they declare themselves ready to smother Man 
in his 0¥ni blood, rather than permit his usurpation. They 
entreat Beelzebub to lead them on to battle, and they 
swear to follow his standard. Beelzebub, * than whom, 
Satan except, none higher sits,' vith dignified indignation 
admirably displayed, rejects the proposition of the muti- 
neers, and enters into a long argument with them, in 
which he pretends to be slowly persuaded of their wrongs. 
He further feigns to be exceedingly moved by the defalca- 
tion of Apollyon and Belial, but he steadily refuses their 
offer of leadership, unless they will permit him to lead 
them, as suppliants for mercy, to the Throne of Grrace ; 
and there is a peculiar motive for the unctuous zeal of this 
last offer, for, while the words are in his mouth, the mag- 
nificent presence of Michael is before us. The Field- 
Marshal addresses Beelzebub, in a haughty tone, and, in 
spite of this Isst flosculus which has fallen from his lips, 
roundly accuses him of stirring up rebellion. Beelzebub, 
nothing abashed, humbly rebuts the charge, and prays 
Michael to assist him in interfering in favour of peace. 
Michael thereupon offers, in a suflSciently peremptory 
tone, to lay their petition before the Deity. The Luci- 
ferists boldly insist on their right, and blaze up into the 
most absolute defiance. Michael thereupon warns them 

^ Appendix ZZ. 




* lucifee; 297 

that those who fight against him fight against Crod ; but 
the rebel host shriek back that the Stadtholder, Lucifer, is 
on their side. Michael can hardly believe it ; and then, 
in thunderous rhetoric, he calls down divine vengeance 
upon them, and, gathering the ranks of the faithful 
about him, soars upward to lay the matter at Grod's feet. 
Beelzebub raises the courage of the Luciferists by announc- 
ing the advent of Lucifer, who approaches on his chariot, 
and greets them with great dignity of speech. The Luci- 
ferists- pour out their anguish to him thus — 

Forbid it^ Lucifer^ nor suffer that our ranks 

Be mortified so low and sink without a crime, 

While Man, above ns raised, may flash and beam sublime 

In the very core of hght, from which we seraphim 

Pass quiveringy full of pain, and fade like shadows dim. 


• •••••••• 

We swear, by force, beneath thy glorious flag combined, 
To set thee on the throne for Adam late designed ! 
We swear, with one accord, to stay thine arm for ever ; 
Lift high thy battle-axe I our wounded rights deliver ! * 

Lucifer, however, still deems it politic to feign a loyal and 
pious mind ; but at length he gives way, especially to the 
arguments of Beelzebub. To his own superior intelligence 
the contest seems, hopeless, the battle lost before it is 
fought. But at last he cries — 

I will content me, then, force to resist by force ! 

But he stops the shouts of delight with which this con- 
cession is greeted, to bid the princes take witness that he 
is forced into this step by the need to protect Grod's realm 
against usui-pation. Beelzebub, then, like some arch-heretic 
or anti-pope, busies himself to prepare divine honours for 
the new deity. The crowd take up the idea, and shout — 

* Appendix AAA. 


Crown, crown with triumpli great God Lucifer. 

At the command of Beelzebub, they bring perfumes and 
bum them before him, and in choral antiphonies they sing 
his praise. 

Follow the chief, whose trumpet and whose drum 

Protect the crown of Angeldom ! 
Behold, behold, how the Morning Star outflashes ! ^ 

They pass away in triumph, and the Heavenly Chorus 
descends, filling the vacant scene, and trilling a mournful 
epode to this dithyrambic passion, full of pain and anxious 

The fourth act opens with a most Miltonic blare of 
martial melody. All heaven is in a blaze, and Crabriel 
speeds to bid Michael prepare to defend Crod's name. The 
third part of heaven has sworn fealty to the traitorous 
Morning Star, and leads him on with shouts and singing. 
Melancholy and depression have now seized the loyal 
angels, and the unfaded seraphim sit brooding on their 
woe. To Michael, who demands to learn what effect the 
news produced at the Throne of Grod himself, Gabriel 
replies — 

I saw God's very gladness with a cloud of woe 
(yer-shadowed, and there burst a flame out of the gloom 
That pierced the eye of light, and hung, a brand of doom. 
Beady to fall in rage. I heard the mighty cause 
Where Mercy pleaded long with God's all-righteous laws, 
Grace, soothly wise and meek, with Justice arguing well. 
I saw the Cherubim, who on their faces fell. 
And cried out ' Mercy, mercy I God, let Justice rest I ' 
But even as that shrill sound to His great footstool pressed. 
And God seemed almost moved to pardon and to smile. 
Up curled the odious smoke of incense harsh and vile 

> Appendix BBB. 

'LUCIFER.' 299 

Burned down below in praise of Lucifer, who rode 
With censers and bassoons and many a choral ode ; 
Then Heaven withdrew its face from such impieties, 
Cursed of God and Spirits and all the Hierarchies.^ 

Michael, thereupon, in a speech of great poetic vigour, 
calls the battalions of heaven to arms. They all pass out, 
and the scene is filled by the Luciferists, who enter, 
accompanying Lucifer and Beelzebub. They cry to be 
instantly led to storm the ranks of Michael : but Lucifer 
first inquires into the condition of his own army, and 
then proceeds to take their oaths of allegiance. He bids 
them remember that it is now too late to recede, but they 
have taken a step at once fatal and fortunate which now 
forces them with violence to tear from their necks the 
yoke of slavery to Adam's sons. But whilst they shout in 
answer, and rapturously pledge themselves to follow the 
Morning Star, a herald is seen winging his way towards 
them from the height of heaven. This is Baphael, sent on 
a last embassy of peace and reconciliation. The position 
of Baphael in this act closely resembles that of Abdiel, 
* faithful foimd among the faithless, faithful only he,' 
in the end of the Fifth Book of ' Paradise Lost.' In each 
case a single seraph opposes Lucifer at the moment of his 
violent action, alone, in his own palace, and undaunted by 
the hostile scorn of myriads. There is, however, the im- 
portant distinction that Baphael is an ambassador, while 
the beautiful figure of Abdiel distinguishes itself by stand- 
ing out in unshaken loyalty from the very ranks of the 
insurgents themselves. The resemblance is least marked 
in the opening words of Eaphael's address. Instead of 
adopting the lofty arrogance of Michael or the cold im- 

> Appendix CCC. 


partiality of Gabriel, Saphael flings himself, overwhelmed 
with grief, on the neck of the Stadtholder. He says that 
he brings balsam from the lap of God ; all will still be 
forgiven, if the reb^l angels be disarmed, and if Lucifer 
return to his loyalty. He weeps in picturing to the 
assembly, in florid and impassioned language, how in the 
old happier days Lucifer bloomed in Paradise, in the 
presence of the sim of Godhead, blossoming out of a 
cloud of dew and fresh roses. He reminds Lucifer that 
his festal robes stood out stiff with pearls and turquoises, 
emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and bright gold. He describes 
him, exactly as MemUng or Van der Goes would have 
painted him two centuries earlier, standing behind the 
throne of some gorgeous Madonna, with his gold hair 
streaming against the clear green and blue of a distant strip 
of landscape, or glancing among his jewellery, as he crushes 
an enemy under his mailed foot. It would have well suited 
a painter of that effluent period to paint the Stadtholder, 
as Raphael describes him, with the heaviest sceptre of 
heaven in his hand, and blazing like a sun among the 
circling stars. The arguments of Raphael are more 
worldly than those of Abdiel. He is afraid that Lucifer's 
beauty will be changed into the semblance of a griffin or 
dragon or other monstrous thing, and stimulates his vanity 
in the hope of changing his purpose. At last he interposes 
force, or a courteous semblance of force, and strives to wrest 
the battle-axe out of one of the Stadtholder's hands, and his^ 
buckler out of the other. The arch-rebel replies with dignity 
to these familiarities, and utterly rejects his overtures of 
peace. Raphael argues, but in vain; for Lucifer declares that 
Adam's honour is the whetstone of his battle-axe, and that he 

' LUCIFER.' 301 

has but to reflect on the indignity which has been threatened 
to the angels, to grasp more tightly the weapon that must 
wipe out the memory of that insolence. Eaphael takes it 
absolutely for granted that the rebellion will instantly and 
utterly fail ; and, finding Lucifer deaf to his loving and 
sentimental entreaties, he threatens him with the punish- 
ment prepared for him. He declares that a pool of 
sulphur, bottomless, horrible, has in this very hour gaped 
to receive him. To all this Lucifer cannot listen with 
patience; he repels him with indignation and defiance. 
Baphael continues, however, calling him the perjured 
leader of a blind conspiracy, and declaring that the chains 
are actually being forged for his limbs. In a brilliant 
passage Lucifer wavers and sickens, wonders if he dare 
return to his duty, seeks vainly for counsel and confidence, 
but is constantly held up by his pride and rage. At the 
moment that he wavers most, the trumpet of God sounds 
through the circles of heaven, and it is too late. The 
battle breaks upon his despair, but ApoUyon is full of 
hope and daring. Eaphael, in an agony of regret, and 
with a breaking heart, remains on the scene, while the 
Luciferists rush to battle. To him the Chorus of good 
angels enters, and they with him join in a hymn of 
passionate entreaty to God even now, if it be not too late, 
to exercise the glorious privilege of pardon. 

So closes the fourth act ; and when the fifth opens, 
Baphael is discovered at some distance from the field of 
battle, giving rapturous thanks for its victorious issue. 
He has not fought in it himself, but he has been watching 
from far oflF, and now he sees the shields of good angels 
returning, and glittering like suns, each shield-sun stream- 


ing txiuznphant day, Uriel comes to him out of the ranks, 
and as he crosses the plain of heaven he swings his flaming 
sword till its rays are flashed back from the facets of his 
diamond helmet. Called upon by Raphael to describe the 
fight, Uriel tells how God commanded Michael, the prince 
of his army, and faithful Gabriel, next to him in command, 
to lead forth the invincible ranks of the angels against 
the rebellious godless army, and to sweep them from the 
pure azure of heaven into the gulf, 

which ready opens wide 
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall. 

Straightway the heavenly army flew to victory like an 
arrow from the bow. Unnumbered multitudes of celestial 
warriors, well-marshalled, progressed in a three-cornered 
phalanx, a triangle of advance, a unity in a three-pointed 
light. Michael, with the lightning in his hand, led the 
van. Meanwhile the rebel host was speeding to meet 
them with no less velocity. 

Their army waxed apace, and like a crescent moon 
Threw out two points like horns that gained upon us soon, 
Or like the star that fronts the Bull T the Zodiack, 
And the other monsters quaint that wheel around his track 
With golden horns bedight.^ 

One horn is led by Belial and one by Beelzebub, while 
Lucifer brings on the van. The description of the 
Apostate, though with barocco details omitted by the purer 
taste of Milton, is closely parallel to the celebrated 
analogous passage in the Sixth Book of * Paradise Lost.' 
Encircled by his staff'-bearers and green liveries, in golden 
harness, on which his coat of arms shone in glowing purple, 

» Appendix DDD. 

* LUCIFEE.* 303 

he sat in his sun-bright chariot, the wheels of which were 
thickly inlaid with rubies. Like a lion or fell dragon he 
raged for the fight, and his soul flamed athirst for destruc- 
tion ; nor, as he flashed through the field, could any foe see 
his back, sown all over with stars. With his battle-axe in 
his hand, and on his left arm a buckler engraved with the 
Morning Star, he rushed into the fray. Saphael inter- 
rupts again to mourn over the beauty of this phoenix, now 
doomed to endless flame, but bids Uriel proceed. The 
latter describes how the battle burst in a hail of biu'ning 
darts, and the whole air was thimder. After this artillery 
had expended its force the armies met on closer terms, 
and, lighting down from their chariots, met hand to hand 
with club and halbert, sabre, spear, and dagger. The 
plumes of the angels were singed with lightning, and all 
their gorgeous panoplies were mingled in undistinguishable 
confusion, so that one saw turquoise-blue and gold, diamond 
and pearl, mixed and jarred together, nor knew which 
splendour belonged to which angel. Again and again 
repulsed, still Lucifer brought back his shattered army, 
still only to break like a wave on the iron ranks of the 
blessed. At last from a height he poured his forces on 
them : and Vondel, in describing the charge, adds a figure 
of speech which may have been inspired by one of the 
landscapes which Jacob Euysdael was just beginning to 
exhibit at Amsterdam, but which can hardly be drawn 
from the home-staying poet's own experience — 

Like some great inland lake or northland waterfall 

That breaks upon the rocks and raves with rushing brawl ; 

A terror to wild beasts in deep sequestered valleys, 

Through stones and down from heights in mighty jets ft sallies.^ 

» Appendix EEE. 


Then the battle raged more than ever ; the vaults of 
heaven were deafened with ' the roar of an angel onset ; * 
but the point of Michael's array pierced the half-moon of 
Lucifer's with a lurid blaze of red and blue sulphurous 
flame, and with blow on blow, like thunder-clap on 
thunder- clap, in spite of all Lucifer's fierce endeavour, 
struck it apart and divided it. Then, soaring high above 
the fight in his bright steel array, Lucifer gloomed like 
a blue dragon, poisoning the whole air with his split 
tongue and blowing odious vapours through his nostrils. 
At last Michael and he were face to face, and around them 
half the battle paused to watch the encounter of two such 
magnificent princes. ' First Lucifer swung high his battle- 
axe with intent to fell Grod's banner, on which the mystic 
name of the Creator stood blazoned in crystalline splendour. 
But Michael shouted to him to beware and to yield — to 
lead off his godless rout, or else prepare to suffer the 
worst pangs of punishment. But the maddened archangel 
strove all the more to cleave the diamonds that formed 
the sacred name, but the moment he touched them the 
blade of his battle-axe sprang to atoms. Then Michael 
grasped his lightning sword, and cleft the arch-enemy of 
the blessed through helmet and head. He fell heavily 
out of his chariot. Then Apollyon felt the flaming sword 
of Uriel. Beelzebub still raged, Belial still defied the 
hosts of God ; but the fall of the Stadtholder had fully 
broken the half-moon of the rebel onset, although the 
giant Orion attempted to lead a return charge. Uriel 
compares the appearance of the fallen ariihangel to that 
of an ass, a rhinoceros, and an ape, such an uncouth 
monster did he seem lying prone on the battle-field. 

' LUCIFEB.' 305 

ApoUyon fled ; and soon he and all the rest were driven 
thunder-struck before the sword of Michael till they came 
to the abyss that gaped to receive them, and were hurried 
down, roaring and yelping, into the jaws of hell itself, 
while Michael, returning, was greeted with cymbals, 
shawms, and tambours. 

The remarkable points of resemblance between this 
long and spirited description of the fall of the rebel angels 
and that given in the Sixth Book of ' Paradise Lost ' are, 
of course, far too close and too numerous to be mere coin- 
cidences. There can be no doubt whatever that the deep 
impression made on Milton's imagination by the battle in 
the ' Lucifer ' remained vividly before him when he came 
to deal with the same branch of his subject. In some 
respects the earlier poet has distinctly the advantage. 
He gives but one fight ; while Milton, for no intelligible 
reason, divides the action between three days. The addi- 
tions of the gunpowder and the ridiculous tossing about 
of mountains torn up from their bases are certainly no 
improvements upon the simpler, more human description 
of Vondel. In voliune of melody and in the beauty of 
individual passages the English poet, of course, far exceeds 
the Dutch. 

Uriel ceases his discourse as Michael and the victorious 
Chorus enter. They sing this ode, curious for its varia- 
tions of metre and the eccentric distribution of its 

rhymes — 

Blest be the hero's hour, 
Who smote the godless power, 
And his might, and his light, and his standard, 
Down toppling like a tower ; 
His crown was near God's own, 
But from his lofty throne, 



With his might; into night he hath yanished ; 

God's name must shine alone. 

Outblazed the uproar fell, 

When valorous Michael 
With the brand in his hand quenched the passion 

Of spirits that dared rebel. 

He holds God's banner now ; 

With laurels crown his brow ! 
Peace shall reign here again, and her forehead 

Shall yanquished Discord bow. 

Amid the conquering throng 

Praises to God belong ; 
Honour bring to the King of all kingdoms ! 

He giyes us stuif for song.* 

Michael^ in a triumphal harangue, proclaims the victory 
of the loyal cause, and points to the hosts of the fallen 
angels, ever sinking dizzily downwards, writhing, accursed, 
misshapen. It is at this minute that Gabriel hastily ent>ers 
bearing most startUng tidings- 

Gabrid, AJas ! alas I alas I to adyerse fortime bow ! 

What do ye here ? In yain are songs of triumph now, 
In yain of spoil of arms and gonfalons ye boast ! 

Michael, What hear I, Gabriel P 

Oabrid. Oh ! Adam is fallen and lost ! 

The father and the stock of all the human race 
Most grieyously hath erred and lies in piteous case.' 

Lucifer has gathered together the remnants of his 
army in the bowels of hell, and, to hide them from God's 
eye, has concealed them in a cloud, a dark cavern of 
murder. Seated in the midst of them, in hellish council, 
he addresses them, precisely as in Milton, and proposes to 
them to attack man by force or subtlety ; the seduction of 
the human race is agreed upon. Lucifer gloats over the 
future misery of man, fallen like themselves, and rejoices 
to imagine that this will complete their revenge on God, 

» Appendix FFF. « Appendix GOG. 

* LUCIFER/ 307 

and ensure the defeat of His purposes. Belial is then de- 
puted to make his way up from hell to the Terrene Para- 
dise, and, having accomplished the journey, he tempts 
Eve exactly as recounted in Genesis, and she falling is the 
cause of the fall of Adam. How Eve gives her husband 
the apple, and how they awake in dolorous plight from 
their state of happy innocence, is pathetically told. Grod 
thunders among the trees of the garden; and Michael 
bids Uriel undertake the duty, that in ' Paradise Lost ' 
he undertakes himself, of driving the guilty pair out 
of Eden with the two-edged flaming sword. Michael then 
charges other archangels with the final punishment of the 
rebel and now intriguing angels, and with this doom of 
endless pain the drama closes — 

Oziafl, to whose fist the very Godhead gave 

The heavy hammer framed of diamond beaten out, 

And chains of ruby, clamps and teeth of metal stout, 

Go hence, and take and bind the hellish host that rage, 

Lion and Dragon fell, whose banners dared to wage 

War with us thus. Speed swift on their accursed flight. 

And bind them neck and claw, and fetter them with might. 

The key which to the gates of their foul pit was fitted 

Is, Azarias, now into thy care committed ; 

Go hence, and thrust therein all that our power defied. 

Maceda, take this torch! to your zeal confide, 

And flame the sulphur-pool in the centre of the world ; 

There torture Lucifer, and leave his body curled 

In everlasting fire, with many a prince accursed, 

Where Sorrow, wretched Pain, numb Horror, Hunger, Thirst, 

Despair without a hope, and Conscience with her sting 

May measure out their meed of endless suflering.^ 

When we consider to how great an extent an English 
writer was about to borrow from this poem, it is singular 
to find its Dutch author acknowledging a debt to a now 

» Appendix HHH. 
X 2 


forgotten English writer. In the learned and interesting 
preface to his play, Vondel notes, while citing earlier 
writers on the same subject, * among English Protestants, 
too, the learned pen of Richard Baker has discussed very 
broadly in prose the fate of Lucifer and all the matter of 
the rebellious spirits.' This was Sir Bichard Baker whose 
* Chronicle' Sir Roger de Coverley was so fond of; a 
wealthy but imprudent gentleman, who ended his days in 
the Fleet Prison. The passage referred to by the Dutch 
poet is to be found in section Which a/rt in Heaven^ of 
Baker's 'Meditations and Disquisitions upon the Lord's 
Prayer,' 1637, a work which Sir Henry Wotton commends 
as having * not a little of the African style of St. Austin.' * 
The * Lucifer' was not received very favourably in 
Holland. It was true that the violent and internecine 
strife of the two great religious parties, the burning and 
parching zeal to which the noble Bameveldt had fallen a 
victim thirty years before, had in a great measure cooled 
down. But still fanatic rage ran very high in the United 
Provinces, and one attack after another was made upon 
' the false imaginations,' ' hellish fancies,' and * irregular 
and unscriptural devices' of Vondel's beautiful drama. 
An eflFort was made in February 1654 to prevent the re- 
presentation of 'the tragedy made by Joost van den. 
Vondel, named Luisevar, treating in a fleshly manner the 
high theme of God's mysteries.' When this fell through, 
and the piece had been acted, a still more strenuous eflFort 
was made to prevent the printing and to prohibit the sale ; 

* Sir Richard Baker seems to have reflected much on the story of 
the Fallen Angels ; I find it discussed again in' his ' Meditations and 
Disquisitions on the Seven Penitential Psalms,' 1639, and in * On the 
First Psalm of David,' 1640. 


but at last, through a perfect sea of invective and obloquy, 
the poem sailed safe into the haven of recognised literature.. 
Its political significance, real or imagined, give it no 
doubt an interest that counterbalanced its supposed sins 
against theology. It was considered — and the idea has 
received the support of most modem Dutch critics — that 
in ' Lucifer ' Vondel desired to give an allegorical accoimt 
of the rising of the Netherlands against Philip II. Ao- 
vcording to this theory, God was represented by the King 
of Spain, Michael by the Duke of Alva, Adam by the 
Cardinal Granvella, and Lucifer by the first stadtholder, 
William the Silent, who was murdered in 1584. There 
are several difficulties in the way of consenting to this 
belief: in the first place, the incidents occurred more 
than seventy years before the .writing of the poem ; and, 
secondly, the event of the one rebellion was diametrically 
opposed to that of the other. William of Orange, indeed, 
was murdered by a hired assassin, but not imtil he had se- 
cured the independent existence of the new State ;^ and 
there would be a curious inappropriateness in describing 
the popular hero as a fallen and defeated angel thrust 
into hell. There is, however, another theory of the poli- 
tical signification of the 'Lucifer,' which seems to me 
much more plausible. It is that which sees in the figure 
of the rebel archangel the still dominant prince of the 
English Commonwealth, Cromwell, the enemy of Holland, 
and in the God and the Michael of Vondel's drama, 
Charles I. and Laud still surviving in their respective 
successors. Considered as a prophecy of the approaching 
downfall of the still flourishing English Bepublic, the 
allegory has a force and a spirited coherence that are en* 
tirely lacking in the generally received version. 


If Milton had preserved his original design, it is 
probable that the resemblance of his poem to VondePs 
tragedy would have been still greater than it is. In the 
Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, are, or were, two 
drafts of Milton's first scheme for * Paradise Lost,' and 
they show that his earliest intention was to treat the theme 
in a dramatic form. It is strange that in this day of in- 
cessant reproduction and republication these most inter- 
esting documents have never been presented to the public. 
It would be exceedingly interesting to note in what form 
the essentially epic story of the Fall of Man originally 
impressed the imagination of Milton before his unerring 
instinct for art led him on the better way. 

Soon after the representation of 'Lucifer' heavy 
sorrows fell upon the aged poet. His son mismanaged the 
business in Warmoesstraat, and in order to stem the 
approaching bankruptcy Vondel sacrificed his own little 
fortune of 40,000 gulden, but in vain. In spite of his 
infirmities he travelled to Denmark to treat with his son's 
creditors, and on his return was obliged to accept a wretched 
clerkship to support himself. In this misery Holland 
allowed her greatest poet to drudge from his seventieth to 
his eightieth year, and his employers had the insolence 
to reproach the old man with sometimes writing verses 
in his ofl&ce hours. I doubt if in all the tragical annals 
of literature there is a sadder story than this, and that 
London should have let Otway starve seems to me less in- 
famous than that Amsterdam should have plagued the aged 
Vondel so harshly for a pittance of fourteen pence a day. 
Nothing extinguished the flame of his genius, however. 
He recommenced his series of biblical tragedies. The 
* Jephta ' appeared in 1 659, the * Samson ' and ' King David 


Restored' in 1660. In the latter year he completed his 
translations of the * CEdipus Tyrannus ' and of the ' -^neid.' 
I can but enumerate his next dramatic productions, the 
' Adonis ' of 1661, the 'John Calling to Repentance ' and 
the ' Batavian Brothers ' of 1662, the ' Phaeton ' of 1663, 
and the epic poem of *De Heerlijkheid der Kerke' (The 
Glory of the Church) of the same year. We must however 
pause an instant before the ' Adam in Ballingschap ' 
(Adam in Exile), 1664, a biblical drama the choruses of 
which are among the most lovely productions of the age. 
In this play we find a lyrical poet of nearly eighty 
warbling his wood-notes as delicately and as freely as the 
young serenader that sings to his lady-love at twenty-five. 
If we consider the time of life at which it was composed, 
and the circumstances, the 'Adam in Ballingschap' is 
certainly one of the most marvellous works on record. In 
1666, Vondel celebrated the naval triumphs of the Dutch 
over the English in some spirited odes, and in 1667 
published his last tragedy, the 'Noah.' On August 10s 
1668, having nearly completed his eightieth year, he 
was called before the Burgomaster and released from 
his drudgery by the gift of a small state pension. He 
continued to amuse himself by publishing translations of 
Sophocles in 1668, and of Ovid in 1670, retaining his 
faculties and his force -of mind until the last. He lived to 
see all his poetical pupils die before him, except Antonides 
van der Goes, who survived until 1684. But the young 
men of genius whom Vondel had loved best passed away 
very early, — Jan Vos, the promising author of ' Aaron and 
Titus,' d3dng in 1667, and Reyer Anslo, whose epic of ' The 
Plague at Naples ' still lives in Dutch literature, meeting 
his fate from the pest he sung of, at Perugia, in 1669. 


tion and taste who uphold the comedies of the Terentian 
nun Hroswitha, and pin their faith to the antiquity of 
Clotilde de SurviUe. These celebrated productions may 
be said to reach the high-water mark of intelligent forgery ; 
their inherent value is so great that there may always be 
admirers too blind to be critical. But it is one thing to 
be delighted with a rondeau like * Au clair de lune,' and 
another to be taken in by a * History of Formosa ' in the 
language of that island. Yet there is just now being 
circulated and discussed throughout the learned societies 
of the North of Europe a hoax that bears a remarkable 
likeness to the geographical and linguistical revelations of 
the mysterious Mr. George Psalmanazar. 

The ' Oera Linda Book ' — which, from being translated 
out of Frisian into Dutch and Grerman, has now been 
exalted into an English translation, and which is expected 
by its feithful band of admirers presently to revolutionise 
the history of Europe — ^has had a variety of evasive stages 
in its long and singular history. As at present published 
it is understood to be taken from a MS. of the thirteenth 
century, and its more rational adherents no longer seek 
to claim for it a greater antiquity. But when it first 
appeared on the scenes, and indeed still in Friesland 
itself, no more modest pretensions were put forth on its 
behalf than that it was ' the oldest production, after 
Homer and Hesiod, of European literature.' It can be 
imagined what excitement has been caused by the sudden 
appearance on the quiet horizon of Frisian letters of a 
meteor so portentous as this. It is well known that the 
industrious and intelligent inhabitants of the north-eastern 
provinces of Holland preserve in remarkable purity the 


old Frisian language ; and that, though Dutch has super- 
seded it in the towns and in business relations, yet that a 
strong conservative process is going on there as elsewhere 
in Europe, having for its object a patriotic preservation of 
the national language, laws, and customs. The capital of 
this peculiar district, Leeuwarden, boasts a variety of 
Frisian institutions, and the strength of feeling and the 
literary activity of the people has been more obvious than 
their critical acumen in this wordy warfare about the 
' Oera Linda Book.' Friesland is by no means ready to 
allow itself to be snuffed out by it* wealthier and more 
influential neighbours. It claims for itself and its lan- 
guage all the dignity due to a most ancient noble stock 
fallen into decay. It produces learned Uttle books, 
intended as trumpet-blasts to waken slumbering philology, 
and bearing such titles as the ^ Old Friesic above all others 
the Fons et Origo of the Old English, and Archaic ' — 
little books which are too apt to give an uncertain sound 
when the supreme moment of trumpeting arrives. Fries- 
land, moreover, does not forget that it has twice contri- 
buted a great name to European poetry and art : in the 
sixteenth century, Gijsbert Japix; in the nineteenth, 
Laurence Alma Tadema. In the ferment of patriotic feel- 
ing it becomes quite a sin against the fatherland not to 
believe in any great memorial of the national glory. As 
we shall see, if only the ' Oera Linda Book ' were trust- 
worthy, Greece and Egypt and Rome would be obliged to 
come down from their pedestals of honour, and do obeisance. 
Friesland is thirsty after national glory, and a MS. 
suddenly appears, showering a whole deity of magnificence 
into the lap of its respectable and sleepy history. That it 


should be difficult to be critical under such circumstances 
is pardonable ; and yet the ^Oera Linda Book ' might have 
taxed our credulity a little les8« With the sincerest 
affection for Friesland, this is too much : — ' Hitherto we 
have believed that the historical records of our people 
reach no farther back than the arrival of Friso, the 
presumptive founder of the Frisians; whereas here we 
become aware that their records moimt up to more than 
2,000 years before Christ, surpassing the antiquity of 
Hellas, and equalling that of Israel I ' This is a quotation 
from a paper read by a well-known scholar before a 
meeting of the Frisian Society, at Leeuwarden, in 1871, 
and warmly commended by all present. These are big 
words, and we cannot do better than examine the document 
on which such assumptions are foimded. 

In the first place, the publisher of the * Oera Linda 
Book ' has an advantage over Mr. Macpherson and other 
producers of strange works, in that the ancient MS. from 
which he took his text has not been burned to ashes at 
the moment when the task of transcription was complete, 
or been stolen and destroyed by some person ignorant of 
its value, or even carried up into heaven by a young 
gentleman with wings, as befell the hapless golden books 
of the Mormons. None of these unfortunate accidents 
has arrived to baffle students of primeval Frisian history. 
The 'Oera Linda' MS. remains in the possession of 
Mr. C. Over de Linden, Chief Superintendent of the Eoyal 
Dockyard at the Helder. Some rather scrappy infor- 
mation has been published, from which we gather that 
the present possessor received the MS., in August, 1848 
(we are very particular about dates), from his aunt, 


Mrs. AajQe Meylhoff, who had preserved it for twenty-eight 
years in her house at Enkhuizen, in Friesland. This takes 
us back to 1820; and we learn that on April 15 of that 
year it was delivered to Mrs. MeylhoflF, then Miss Aai^e 
Over de Linden, by her father, Mr. Andries Over de Linden, 
at his death. Here the chain breaks, and we are blandly 
told that the document had been handed down to the last- 
named gentleman by generation after generation from 
time immemorial. The tradition of the great antiquity of 
this record seems to have been accepted by the family ; 
but no attempt was made to decipher or analyse it until 
Dr. E. Verwijs requested permission, about ten years ago, 
to examine the MS. He, we are told, * immediately re- 
cognised it as very ancient Fries.' A letter at the com- 
mencement, which we shall presently examine, gave the 
year 1256 as that of the present copy, attributing the 
actual composition to a certain Adela, who lived and wrote 
about twenty centuries and a half before the Christian era, 
and to some other persons of a less extreme antiquity. 
This record, consequently, assumes to be 3,900 years old 
in its contents, and to belong to the thirteenth century in 
its present and physical form. It is a large quarto volume, 
of cotton paper, and written upon with large uncial 
letters in a previously unknown, but easy and consistent, 
alphabet. As a specimen of thoroughly intelligent modem 
criticism, I will quote at this juncture some remarks by the 
Frisian enthusiast. Dr. Ottema, who first saw the book 
through the press : — 

In old writings the ink is very black or 'brown ; but while there 
has been more writing since the thirteenth century, the colour of the 
ink is often grey or yellowish, and sometimes quite pale, showing that 


it contains iron. All this affords convincing proof that the manuscript 
before us belongs to the middle of the thirteenth century, written 
with clear black letters between fine lines carefully traced with lead. 
The colour of the ink shows decidedly that it does not contain iron. 
By these eyidences the date given, 1266, is satisfactorily proved, and 
it is impossible to assign any later date. Therefore aU evspicion of 
modem deception vanishes. 

Was there ever such a sweet simplicity in any man 
since that poor dear Abb6 blinded himself in deciphering 
the scribblings of a Grerman schoolboy in the Mexican 
Cave ! Here is a man after Horace Walpole's own heart. 
Dr. Ottema is a phenomenon in the modem life of a 
European philosopher. He ought to have been a don at 
Oxford when Greorge Psalmanazar was made Professor of 
Formosan. I return again and again to this reminis- 
cence. There seems to me no parallel in literary history 
closer than that between the eighteenth-century ' History 
of Formosa ' and this ' Pre-historic Chronicle of Friesland ' 
in our own days; and when I find Dr. Ottema saying, 
as he does, ' As a specimen of antiquity in language and 
writing, I believe I may venture to say that this book is 
unique of its kind,' I cannot help pausing to call his 
attention to that earlier and once so famous masterpiece. 

The letter which claims 1256 as the date of the MS., 
and which all the Frisian scholars point to with especial 
insistence, it may be as well to quote here in full and 
literal translation: — 

Okke, my Son, — These books thou must preserve with body and 
soul. They contain the history of all our folk and of our ancestors. 
Last year I saved them out of the flood with thee and thy mother. 
Then they became wetted ; they in consequence began to perish. In 
order not to lose them I have copied them on to foreign paper {vp 
tvrlandiskpampyer). In case thou inheritest them, thou also must 
copy them. Thy children also, that they may never be destroyed. 


Written at Ljuwert. After Atland sank the three thousand four 
hundred and forty-ninth year ; that is, after Christian reckoning, the 
twelve hundred sis and fiftieth year. 

(Signed) Hidbe, sumamed Qera Likba. Watch. 

Below this, and, as far as we can discover, written on 
the same paper, is a letter dated four hundred years 
earlier. This also has a peculiar importance. . It reads as. 
follows : 

Beloved Successors, — For the sake of our dear forefathers, and of 
our dear liberty, I entreat you a thousand times never let the eye of 
a monk look on these writings. They are very insinuating, but they 
destroy in an underhand way all that relates to us Frisians. In order 
to gain rich benefices, they conspire with foreign kings, who know 
that we are their greatest enemies because we dare to speak to their 
people of liberty, rights, and duties of princes. Therefore they seek 
to destroy all that we derive from our forefathers, and aU that is left 
of our old customs. 

Ah ! my beloved ones ! I have visited their courts ! If Wr-alda 
permits it, and we do not show ourselves strong to resist, they wiU 
altogether exterminate us. 

Written at Ljudwerd. Eight hundred and three years after 

LiKO, sumamed Ovira. Linda. 

It will be noticed that an air of superior archaism is 
introduced by the spelling of the signature, Ovvra Linda^ 
in 803, becoming Oera Linda in 1256. Unfortunately 
this diflFerence of language is not kept up consistently, 
exactly the same forms and the same spelling occurring in 
the first document as in the last; this paradox being the 
result, that during the four centuries in which the Gothic 
languages were undergoing the most rapid and complete 
transfiguration, the Frisian dialect alone preserved its 
forms with inflexible rigidity; which is absurd. 

The narrative is opened with very considerable in- 


genuity. In order to avoid the awkwardness of an intro- 
duction we are suddenly plunged into the middle of things. 
Adela, the priestess-prophetess, is discoursing, and we learn 
from her words that a crisis has just taken place in the 
Frisian polity. The commander Magy, fer whose name 
an ingenious Dutch note accounts by saying ' King of the 
Magjars or Finns,' has murdered the Folksmother, or 
female president of the Frisian Commonwealth. On this 
deed of violence other misfortunes have followed, and the 
same ' Magjars or Finns ' have wrested from Friesland all 
the lands beyond the Weser. To stem the tide of conquest, 
and to consider in what way best to prevent the total 
extinction of the Frisian power, a council is called of the 
sovereign women and the men who hold office under them. 
We see at once that we have before us the curious idea of 
a republic governed by august maidens. At this council 
Adela rises and demands a hearing, and recapitulates for 
the benefit of her people, and for our amusement, the 
various matters that follow. She opens with a denimcia- 
tion of the infidel policy which has disregarded the com- 
mands of the tutelary goddess Frya, and has negligently 
relaxed those god-given laws on which the whole frame- 
work of the community subsists. She harangues the 
assembly with very considerable eloquence, and charges 
the maidens to carry out instant reforms. They are to 
visit aU the citadels, and to write down the Laws of Frjra 
on the walls of each. The internal machinery of govern- 
ment is to be subdivided and put into full working order, 
and this significant exhortation is subjoined: — 

If I might add more, I would recommend that all respectable girls 
in the towns should be taught ; for I say positively, and time will 


show it, that if you wish to remain true children of Frya never to be 
vanquished by fraud or arms, you must take care to bring up your 
daughters as true Frya's daughters. 

And this, which sounds sweet in the ears of Leeuwarden 
to-day: — 

You must teach the children how great our country has been, 
what great men our forefathers were, how great we still are if we 
compare ourselves to others. 

Adela's advice, we are told, was followed, and a tedious 
list of apparently meaningless names is added in due course. 
Then an accoimt is given of the earliest history of Fries- 
land: how Wr-alda, the Infinitely Old, the only eternal and 
good God, breathed upon the Earth so that she brought forth 
three maiden daughters, Lyda the fierce, Finda the sweet- 
voiced and treacherous, and Frya the mild and beneficent. 
The description of Frya has a real charm of style in it. 
Her body is of the colour of snow at sunrise. Her hair, as 
fine as a spider's web, shines like the sun itself. When she 
opens her lips, the birds stop singing, and not a leaf rustles 
in the forest; the lion lies down at her feet, and the asp 
forgets its poison. She has three lessons for her children: 
the first is self-control, and the second the love of virtue, 
and the third the value of freedom; for, she says, ^ Without 
liberty all other virtues serve to make you slaves.' When 
she had gathered around her her children to the seventh 
generation, she was taken suddenly up to heaven and 
made divine. Her children were gathered around her, 
when suddenly she was not. The earth shook, the air grew 
black and leaf-green with tears, and at last, as they gazed 
upwards, they saw the lightning flash out for one moment 
the word 'Watch' written across the firmament. Her 



children consoled themselves by building a great citadel, 
on which they wrote her laws, called the Tex. They are 
the Frisians of this wondrous history. 

After this prologue the Laws themselves, Frya's Tex, 
are given in full. Here the ' Oera Linda Book ' challenges 
comparison with the most important fragment of genuine 
mediaeval Frisian which we possess — the Old Laws of 
Friesland, put down at various times during the Middle 
Ages, but all claiming to have been originally drawn up by 
Charlemagne. There is no doubt whatever of the genuine 
authenticity of these very remarkable documents; and in 
point of style they resemble, sometimes very closely, this 
primaeval Tex of Frya. The old Frisian laws were printed 
so earlyas the endof the fifteenthcentury; again revived, they 
were published by Christian Schotanus, in 1664, in his ' De- 
scription of the Glory of Friesland.' More than a century 
elapsed before they were printed again ; and then they 
appeared in the form which I have before me at this 
moment, printed at Campen and Leeuwarden, in 1782, by 
J. A de Chalmot and J. Seydel. This edition of the Old 
Frisian Laws is worthy of some note; it might even 
suggest itself to a sceptical mind to inquire whether this 
volume was not the real nucleus and *fons et origo,' to use 
the true Frisian phrase, of Adela and Frya and the whole 
structure of the ' Oera Linda Book.' 

It must be understood, however, that the compilers of 
the Old Laws knew no such strange gods as Linda and 
Wr-alda, Their straightforward statement, on the contrary, 
opens thus: — 'To the honour of God, of his dear mother 
Mary, and of the whole heavenly host, *nd of all free 
Frisian freedom.' These last words, on which much 


interesting speculation might be founded, reveal to us a 
high level of national vitality at that early period. The 
sturdy alliterativeness, cdre fria Fresena fridam, has in 
itself the ring of a watchword, and a noble music of liberty 
in it. Again and again it is repeated, and throughout the 
code Di fria Fresa, the free Frisian, is invariably used for 
citizen or inhabitant. 

Either this characteristic is of an infinite age, or the 
Oera Linda has cunningly borrowed it, for the Tex abounds 
in such spirited enactments as this: — 

If any m^ shall deprive another, even his debtor, of his liberty, 
let him be to you as a vile slave ; . and I advise you to burn his body 
and that of his mother in an open place, and bury them fifty feet 
below the ground, so that no grass shall grow upon them. It would 
poison your cattle. 

There is something ' sans-culottish ' about this. This 
lawgiver has the soul of a Eobespierre. Again we note 
the date of the edition of the Frisian Laws, 1782. 

We now come to the passages which are wholly ridicu- 
lous, if taken in the serious, historical way affected by Dr. 
Ottema and his Frisian friends, and which might have 
shown them, without a moment's hesitation, that, whatever 
the MS. was, it was a relation not of fact, but of fiction. 
We are told that Minno, obviously Minos, was a Frisian 
king, bom at Lindawrda in Friesland, and that he 
wandered about the world till he came to Kreta, where he 
gave laws to the inhabitants. An extract from his insti- 
tutions has a good deal of the antique Teuton flavour 
about it : — 

The toad blows himself out, but he can only crawl. The frog 
cries, ' Work, work,' but he can do nothing but hop and make him- 

Y 2 


self ridiculous. The raven cries 'Spare, spare' (spfir, spSr), but he 
steals and wastes eyerything that he gets into his beak. 

Milios settled a Frisian colony in Kreta, and, returning 
home, left a virgin ruler to govern the island in his stead. 
Her suggestive title was Nyhellenia ; but her real name, 
we are told, was Min-Erva. There is here some obscurity 
in the narrative ; but, if we understand aright the mean- 
ing of the author, this lady Min-Erva, in her turn, sailed 
from Kreta and settled in Krekalanda. A Dutch note to 
the Frisian text kindly explains that ' Krekaland means 
Magna Grecia, as well as Greece.' We feel a curiosity to 
know who supplied this note, and from what authority. 
Min-Erva teaches the Krekalanders to worship one God ; 
to be wise and self-restrained, and tolerant. 

At this point there comes a break, and the story is 
told, in somewhat diflFerent fashion, in the form of an ex- 
tract of some autobiography of JSIinos. It is primarily 
interesting because he says that he started from ' Athenia ' 
on his way to Kreta, and thus supplies us with another 
familiar name. * The historical style of the author is very 
molluscous, and we find it difficult to state precisely what 
he intends us to learn. This passage, however, is plainly 
enough intended to add* an original testimony to the fact 
of the disappearance of that mysterious continent of 
Atlantis whither the ancients timidly set sail to gather 
precious dragon's blood, and of which it has been supposed 
that the Azores and the Canaries, Madeira and the Cape 
Verdes, are the loftiest summits, too high to be sub- 
merged : — 

Now the bad time came. During the whole summer the sun had 
been hid behind the clouds, as if unwilling to look upon the earth. 


There was perpetual csalm, and the damp mist hung like a wet sail 
over the houses and the marshes. The air was heavy and oppressive, 
and in men's hearts was neither joy nor cheerfulness. In the midst of 
this stillness the earth began to tremble as if she were dying. The 
mountains opened to vomit forth fire and flames. Some sank into 
the bosom of the earth, and in other places mountains rose out of the 
' plain. Aldland, called by the seafaring people Atland, disappeared, and 
the wild waves rose so high over hill and dale that everything was 
buried in the sea. Many people were swallowed up by the earth, and 
others who had escaped the fire perished in the water. It was not 
only in Finda's land that the earth vomited fire, but also in Twisk- 
land. Whole forests were burned one after another, and when the 
wind blew from that quarter our land vtnas covered with ashes. Rivers 
changed their course, and at their mouths new islands were formed 
of sand and drift. 

Twiskland is Germany. We seem, in the early part 
of this description, to be listening to a man whose imagi- 
nation was full of the horrors of the earthquake at Lisbon. 

One hundred and one years after the event just re- 
corded, we are told, a people came up out of the East, 
driven onward by another people. They called themselves 
Magjars, and their king was named Magy. We now find 
ourselves brought down to the age of Adela herself, who 
began her narration thirty years after the murder of the 
Volksmoeder by the commander of the Magjars. We can 
therefore supply some outlines of chronology ; for since 
Hiddo Oera Linda made the present copy of the MS. in 
'the three thousand four himdred and forty-ninth year 
after Atland was submerged ' — that is, in a.d. 1256 — the 
date of the disappearance of Atlantis may be placed at b.c. 
2193, the incursion of the Magjars at B.C. 2092, and the 
event narrated so suddenly at the opening of the book in 
B.C. 2062. In the year b.c. 1982, then, to continue the 
Oera Linda chronology, Wodin, a Danish viking, invited by 


the Frisians, went out to fight the Magjaxs, and, after re- 
pulsing them for some time, was captured by them and — 
made their king. We are next introduced to twQ Frisian 
brothers, Nef Tunis and Inka, who start for the southern 
seas to win their fortunes; they proceed together in amity 
as far as a town in Spain, called Kadik, where there is a 
stone quay. It is very instructive to note that nearly two 
thousand years before the Christian era, Cadiz existed and 
flourished. Here they fell to a disagreement, and it was 
determined that one brother should go west, the other 
east. Inka, accordingly, set out to try whether there 
might not "be, far beyond the Hesperides, some remnant of 
the vanished Atlantis. The ' Oera Linda Book ' savs that 
he was never heard of again, but I am inclined to think 
that we have met with him in the history of Peru. Nef 
Tunis went eastward up the Mediterranean, and after 
divers troubles arrived, in the year b.c. 2000, at ' an island 
with two deep bays so that there appeared to be three 
islands. In the middle one they established themselves, 
and afterwards built a city wall round the place. Then 
they wanted to give it a name, but disagreed about it. 
Some wanted to call it Fryasburch, others Nef Timia (!) ; 
but the Magjars and Finns begged that it might be called 
Thyrhisburch.' The Dutch annotator has again been 
afraid that we should not recognise this name, and has 
added * Tyrus.' 

With the inhabitants of the coast, and as far as the 
town of Sydon, they traded, exchanging amber and iron 
for wine, honey, and various products of the land. It is 
a pity that they did not elect the name Neftunia; it 
would have formed an elegant pendant to Min-Erva! 


We meet with other familiar names as we proceed — 
Athens, Ulysus, Troja, and so on ; but we find nothing 
very important or interesting till near the end of the first 
part, the Book of Adela. This, as being in my opinion 
the most vigorous episode in the work, I give in sum- 

One stormy winter night the watchman on the citadel 
of Texland heard, above the roar of the tempest and the 
sea, a noise of ruin in the watch-tower. In another 
moment he saw the sacred immortal light fall from its 
high station on to the bastion, and by its glare he saw 
thousands of men battering the gates and scaling the walls. 
Without a moment's warning war had feUen upon the 
Frisian people. It was the old foe, Magy, come with a 
fleet of light vessels to steal the sacred lamp. The 
watchman gave the alarm, but it was too late ; the mul- 
titudes rushed into the city, and one brutal Finn pierced 
to the chamber of the Mother herself. He ran a sword 
through her before a guardsman of her own could cleave 
his skull. Her still living body was borne on board 
the ship of Magy. When she was in measure restored, the 
insolent conqueror oflFered her humiliating terms for her life, 
and attempted to make use of her prophet's power. The 
dying maiden made as if she heard him not ; but at last she 
took up her speech against him, and cried : ' Before seven 
days have passed, your soul shall haunt the tombs with 
the night-birds, and your body shall be at the bottom of 
the sea.' She fell fainting on the deck, and her captive 
maidens clustered around her ; but the raging conqueror 
thrust them all aside, and bade his soldiers throw her still 
breathing body into the deep. This episode is invented 


with extraordinary force and skill, and is well worthy of 
attention. In the figure of the Maiden, Mother of her 
People, the author whom Dr. Ottema and his friends 
traduce by supposing him capable of a monstrous chro- 
nicle, has not thought of history, but typifies &om thf^ 
point of view of a romance-writer the fervour of liberty, 
the passion of Frisian freedom and unity, which has al- 
ways characterised this remarkable little nation. Judged 
as a romance, the *' Oera linda Book ' is a fairly interest- 
*ing and novel Utopia; judged as a veracious piece of 
ancient history, it only casts ridicule on the critical 
faculty of those who have discussed it. 

With the event last described, the Book of Adela 
closes ; but not so the manuscript. A ,certain Adelbrost 
immediately takes up the thread, and states himself to be 
the son of Adela. But before he has written more than 
a page and a half, he comes to a horrid end. Two and 
thirty days after his mother's death, Adelbrost was found 
murdered on the wharf, his skull fractured, and his limbs 
torn asunder. It is his brother Apollonia, who continues 
the narrative, to whom we owe these harrowing particulars. 
After dwelling on them, he gives us an account of his 
mother Adela's death, who was also murdered by the Mag- 
jars. Friesland would seem to have fallen on very troublous 
times about the year b.c. 2000. We learn that Adela, 
like Queen Gruenevere, was seven feet high, and that her 
wisdom exceeded her stature. There were giants on the 
earth in those days. 

On the occasion of the death of Adela, there was in- 
scribed on the outside wall of the city tower a long state- 
ment of religious opinion, which was to serve as doctrine 


to the inhabitants. This is a sort of impersonal deistic 
creed, dealing more largely in morality than faith, and 
apparently the result of a well-digested course of the works 
of Jean Jacques Eousseau. We learn therefrom that the 
causes of sin are dulness, carelessness, and ignorance; 
that the principles of Calvinism and elective grace are 
base and false ; and that the existence of man ought to 
be a constant advance towards that absolute perfection 
which is Wr-alda, or the One God ; but that the human 
spirit is not the Spirit of God, but a shadow of it. There 
is also happily defined the familiar reflection that without 
the powers of the senses we should have had no proper 
thoughts at all. ' If Wr-alda had given us no organs, 
we should have known nothing, and been more irrational 
than a piece of seaweed driven up and down by the ebb 
and flood.' 

It can serve no critical purpose to follow the disjointed 
narrative any farther. One narrator after another takes 
it up, recording the deeds of successive generations ; but 
there is no alteration of style, and the characteristics of 
the history remain unaltered. An attempt to give an 
account, from the Frisian point of view, of the rise of the 
Christian religion, is grotesquely ingenious, and would 
hardly have disgraced a speculative encyclopaedist. In 
the heart of Cashmere the daughter of a king brought 
forth a child, whose father was a high priest. To save 
herself from destruction the princess entrusted her babe 
to a poor couple, who brought him westward till he fell 
into the hands of a Frisian sailor, who taught him to 
value the wisdom of Texland, and become, in short, a good 
fria Freaa, There follows a piece of brilliant comparative 


mythology, the force of which is less apparent in the 
English version, because Mr. Sandbach, in a fit of inex- 
plicable prudery, has outraged the Frisian text by dis- 
guising the first name as Jessos : — 

His first name was Jes-ufi ; but the priests, who hated Mm; called 
him Fo; that is, fiilse ; the people called him Kris-en (Krishna), that 
is, shepherd ; and his Frisian friend called him Bdda (Buddha), purse, 
because he had in his head a treasure of wisdom, and in his heart a 
treasure of love. 

This fourfold deity combines in himself all the virtues 
of the Orient, and the benefits of four great philosophic 
systems. Shortly after his death we find kingly tyranny 
and priestly aggression, the two great bugbears of the 
author of the ' Oera Linda Book,' rapidly undoing all the 
lovely work of the man-god's blameless life, and the 
rhetoric rises to passionate eloquence as the corruption 
and enthralment of the world are bewailed. 

Soon after this lyric outburst the narrative incon- 
tinently closes in the middle of a sentence, and the 
weary reader hardly wishes it completed. The monotony 
of the style has been excessive, and the invention has 
seldom had the power of riveting the student's attention 
or persuading his conviction. 

In summing up, this much-discussed MS. chronicle of 
primaeval history must be regarded as a romance of the end 
of the last century, written in all probability by a radical 
and free-thinker whose mind was steeped in the scep- 
tical ideas of the eighteenth century, but still more in 
the intense and passionate patriotism which has never 
ceased to characterise the Frisian people. He was evi- 
dently a man of learning and talent, but of no genius ; 


for a man of genius would have arranged his narrative 
with more art, would have given it shape and proportion, 
and would have set here and there some jewel of sieges- 
tion or insight which would have constrained our belief, 
though only for a moment. These gifts we cannot re- 
cognise in the writer of the Oera Linda MS. His book 
is replete with feeling, elevation, and sentiment : it is, 
above all, what the Grermans call a Tendenz-Buck ; it 
strives to teach an earnest moral lesson in the form of a 
romance. All this is characteristic of the period to which 
I am inclined to assign its authorship. I would go 
farther, and dare to conjecture that its composition dates 
from the earliest years of reaction, when the ideas of the 
Encyclopaedia had fully blossomed in the French Eevolu- 
tion, and had borne such bitter fruit that men began, still 
clinging fest to Eousseau, to give up all other free-thinking 
supports, and return to a modified deism and a modified 
conservatism. The tide once turned, the flood rushed 
back with violence ; in a few years Joseph de Maistre and 
Chateaubriand were the leaders of opinion. The ' Oera 
Linda Book ' seems to me to mark the instant of reaction, 
and to stand midway between Diderot and the Seraphic 
Epos. But while giving the author credit, not only for 
most pure and exalted desires, but for very considerable 
talent and ingenuity in putting them forth, I am at a 
loss how to characterise the critics who have palmed this 
romance upon the world as a genuine primaeval history. 
They are seriously to be blamed for having wasted their 
time in attempting to persuade European scholarship of 
the truth of such a frivolity — time that might better have 
been spent in discovering the exact date of composition 


of the MS., and the name and purpose of its author. It 
i8 to be hoped that they will at length be persuaded to 
give their attention to this investigation. To find out 
who wrote the 'Oera Linda Book,' and what its subse- 
quent history has been, cannot, to say the least, be more 
difficult than to discover what song the Sirens sang to 
Ulysses; and this we know, on the authority of Sir 
Thomas Brown, is a legitimate subject for scientific 

The above was written in the early part of 1876, and 
was received here and still more in Holland with reproaches 
against what was termed its extravagant scepticism. But 
a French critic, M. Jules Andrieu, in the summer of the 
same year, in a very grave and learned analysis of the 
' Oera Linda Book,' rejected, as I had done, without dis- 
cussion, the assumption of the great antiquity of the MS., 
but was inclined to place the date of composition at the 
end of the seventeenth, and not of the eighteenth century. 
He cited a variety of passages showing beyond a doubt that 
the author was largely indebted to the 'Atland eller 
Manheim ' of Olof Rudbeck the elder, to the * Origo rerum 
Celticarum et Belgicarum ' of Adriaan Schrieck, and to the 
' Becceselana ' of Groropius Becanus, all of them pedantic 
and now forgotten monmnents of the Imnbering learning 
and false philology of the seventeenth century. M. Andrieu 
seemed to prove so conclusively that the ^ Oera Linda Book ' 
was the work of a man who had outlived the murder of the 
brothers De Witt, that I was afraid I had been, as they 
said, too sceptical. But there followed a pamphlet by a 


professor at Haarlem, Dr. Beckering Vincker, which folly 

bore out my original view, and went even farther. In this 

little work, entitled ' De Onechtheid van het Oera Linda- 

Bok' (The Oera Linda Book not genuine), the Frisian 

style was minutely and trenchantly criticised, and the 

utter worthlessness of its pretensions to antiquity exposed. 

Dr. Vincker was inclined to consider the date of composition 

posterior to 1853. Mr. C. Over de Linden being now dead, 

his son Leendert Flores Over de Linden was persuaded to 

send a page of the MS. to be examined by a famous expert 

at Amsterdam. He gave a very decided opinion that the 

writing was certainly not more than seventy-five, and 

perhaps only twenty-five years old. Before communicating 

this reply, however, to the Over de Linden family, he sent 

on the page to the head of the great paper factory at 

Apeldoom, and received from him the opinion that the 

paper in question was undoubtedly fabricated at the 

factory of Messrs. Zielens & Schrammen, about the year 

1845. It is now very generally supposed that the MS. 

was written about 1848 by Mr. C. Over de Linden in his 

official rooms at the Helder. The ' Oera Linda Book ' is 

thus an exploded antiquity, but as a curious piece of 

Frisian literature it may still be read with interest, especially 

as a few farces, some translations, and the poems of Grijsbert 

Japix are the only specimens of belles-lettres to attract a 

student to the language. 




Atter hsBved 

Sig min Sjel. Jeg Svalen saae, 

Sieiikende sig under over 

Skyens melkehvide Vover, 

Og jeg frydedes paany. 

Hvor den svseved ! 

Hvor den svinged i det Blaa, 

Solforgyldt, skjondt i sit Gry 

Solen bagom Aasen laae ! 

Hvor den svinged ! hvor den svasved, 

Somom den optrak i Luften 

Med sin blanke 

Yingespids et straalelet 
I Gylden-og blaastribet Net ! 

[ Jeg den fulgte med min Tanke, 

Hvor dens Flugt mon videst vanke, 

Hvor de Balsamdryp, den bar, 
\ Foran tindred 

^ Som et Tvillingstjemepar. 

Wergeland : Svalen, ii. 131-149. 




Hvor i blaanende Geled 
Alper frem af Dalen stige, — 
Hvor ved den fcrystalne Brse 
Blomstrer snehvidt Abildtrse, 
Medens i en Snefonns Spor 
Vilde Bose lystigt groer, — 
Hvor en Kilde fdrst sin Sang 
Kun mnndbarpespsed begynder 
Murmlende blandt Mos og Stene ; 
Men saa under Orregrene 
Fra sin Afdal ud sig skynder, 
Dreven af ungdomlig Traog 
Til med Hoveddalens Ynder 
I sin Glands sig at forene ; 
Og, liig David Harpeslager, 
Fra en Hyrde bleven til 
Dalens Konning ved sit Spil 
Stolt og msegtig gjennemdrager 
Alt sit skjonne Bige, Dalen. 
Wergeland : Den engdske LodSy xi. 55-73. 


Gyldenlak, for Du din Glands bar tabt 
Da er jeg Det bvoraf Alt er skabt ; 
Ja, for Du mister din Elrones Guld, 
Da er jeg Muld. 

Idet jeg raaber : med Vindvet op ! 
Hit sidste Blik faaer din Gyldentop. 
Min Sjsel dig kysser, idet forbi 
Den fly ver fri. 


Togange jeg kysser din sbde Mund ; 
Dit er det forste med Battens Grund, 
Det andet give du, Kjaere husk, 
Min Kosenbusk ! 

Udsprungen faaer jeg den ei at see ; 
Thi bring min SLilsen, naar det vil skee ; 
Og siig, jeg <5nsker, at paa min Grav 
Den blomstrer af. 

Ja siig, jeg onsker, at paa minBryst. 
Den Bose laa, du fra mig bar kyst ; 
Og, Gyldenlak, vaer i Dodens Huus 
Dens Bmdeblusl 

Wergelaio) : Fra JDodslejet 


Nu synker Aftenen sagte ned 

Med gylden Bodme paa So og Lier, 
Og lydlQS Tausbed og yndig Fred 
Til rolig Slummer Naturen vier. 
De gronne Strande 
Sig stole blande 
I Soens Spil med de blanke Vande, 
Der fange dem. 

Se Fiskerbaaden bvor slank og let, 

Hoit paa den glimrende Flade baaren, 
Hvor Karlen boier sig mod sit Net, 
Men stille Pigeme holde Aaren. 
Den tause Tale 
Fra So og Dale 
Al Dagens B!igen bar kunnet syale, 
Og binde dem. 


Men aodt hemnrnken en Pige siaar 

Og heamd aer i den klare Himniel, 
Mens kenflidevBkt h ^n dgg Tanke eaar 
m Juleieg^ og Dandaens VrimmeL 
Den rode Lae 
Pas Aftenens fine 
Har kaatet Funkier vi ej kan skne — 
Hnn stirrer nd. 

Dq rige, rodmende Sommematy 

De eier Meer end de lyse Dage, 
O, bring den Fagi-e din bedste Skat, 
Lad Drommen kjaerlig til hende drags : 
Naar snart de lande 
Yed gronne Strande, 
Lfleg Solverkronen om hendes Pande 
Som salig Brud ! 

MoE : Blandede lyriske Digte, 


I Bkogen Bmaagutten gik Dagen lang ; 
Der havde han hort slig en imderlig Sang. 

Gutten en Flojte af Selju skar, — 
Og proved, om Tonen derinde var. 

Tonen 4en hvisked' og naevnte sig ; 

Men bedst som han lytted/ den lob sin Vej. 

Tit, naai' han sov, den til ham smog, 
Og over bans Pande med Elskov strog. 

Vilde den fange og vaagned* brat ; 
Men Toxien hang fiist i den blege ^at. 

Herre, min Gud, tag mig dennd ; 
Thi Tonen har faaet mit hele Sind, 


Herren han svared' : * Den er din Ven, 
Skjont aldrig en Time du ejer den. 

* Alle de andre dog lidt forslaar 

Mod denne, du soger, men aldrig naar ! ' 

Bjornson : Ame, xir. 


Solglad Dag i hegnet Have 

Skabtes dig till Lyst og Leg ; 
Tsenk ej paa, at Hostens Gave 

Tidtnok Vaarens Lofter sveg. 
^bleblomsten, hvid og vakker, 

Breder over dig sit Tjeld, — 
Lad den saa langs alle Bakker 

Drysses vejrslaat naeste Kveld ! 

Hvad vil du om Fnigten sporge 
Midt i Trseets Blomstertid ? 
Hvorfor sukke, hvorfor sorge, 

Slbvet under Slaeb og Slid ? 
Hvorfor lade Fugleskrsemmen 

Klappre Dag og Natt paa Stang ! 
Glade Broder, Fuglestemmen 

Ejer dog en bedre Klang I 

Hvorfor vil du Spurven jage 

Fra din rige Blomstergren ! 
Lad den for som Sanglon tage 

Din Forhaabning en for en. 
Tro mig, du ved Byttet vinder, 

Tusker Sang mod sildig Frugt : 
Husk Moralen * Tiden rinder ; ' 

Snart din Friluftslund er lukkt. 
z 2 


Jeg vil leve, j^ vil synge, 

Til den dor, den eddste Hsekk ; 
Fej da trostig alt i Dynge, 

Kast 8aa hele Stadsen vaek. 
Grinden op ; lad Faar og Kviger 

Gramse graadigt, hver som bedst ; 
Jeg brod Blomsten ; lidt det siger, 

Hvem der tar den dbde Rest ! 

Ibsen : Kjcerlighedens Koniedie^ i. 



Ja, det var nu i 
Den Tid, jeg var forelsket. 


Er da den forbi % 
Jeg trode ej din Elskovsrus udsovet ! 


Nu er jeg jo officielt^brZItwe^ ; 

Det er jo mere esnA forelsket, ved jeg ! 

Ibsen : Kjcerlighedena Komedie, i. 



Det gjor hver Glsedens Eigmand till en Tigger ! 
Hvis jeg som Sprogets Sultan maatte raade 
En Time kun, det Silkesnoren fik, 
Og skulde ud af Verden uden Naade. 


Hvad bar du da imod det Haabets Ord 1 | 



At det fonnorker os Guds fagre Jord. 

* Vor nseste Kjaerlighed,' ' vor nseste Viv/ 

* Vor nseste Maaltid ' og ' vor nseste Liv/ 
Se, den Forsyrdighedy som heri ligger, 

Den er det, som gjor Glaedens Son till Tigger. 
Saalangt du ser, forstygger den vor Tid, 
Den drseber Nydelsen af Ojeblikket ; 
Du har ej Ro for du faar Baaden vrikket 
Imod ' den nseste ' Strand med Slseb og Slid : 
Men er du fremme — mon du da tor hvile %, 
Nej, du maa atter mod et * Nseste * He. 
Og saadan gaar det — ^fortvsek — udaf Livet, — 
Gud ved, om bag et Stoppested er givet. 


Men fy, Herr Falk, hvor kan De tale saa ! 
Sligt maa min Kjsereste ej hore paa, 
Han er excentrisk nok. — Aa hor, min Kjsere ; 
Kom hid et Ojeblik ! 

STYVER {beakjce/tiget med at rense sin Pibespids), 

Jeg kommer snart. 
Ibsen : Kjcerligkedens Komedie, i. 


Saa ubarmhjertigt, som en strasburgsk Gaas, 
Med rimet Sludder og med metrisk Vaas, 
Saa alt bans Indre, Lever, Sjsel og Kraas, 
Naar ud det krsenges, findes ganske fuldt 
Af lyrisk Ister og retborisk Smult. 

Ibsen : KjoBrlighedens Komedie, i. 



Dskk mine Ojnes Spejl med Blindheds Skiiiimel, 

Sfta skal jeg digte om den Ijse HimmeL 

Skaff migy om blot en Maanedstid paa Borg, 

En Kval, en knuaende, en Kjaempesorg, 

Sua skal jeg synge livetB Jubel ud. 

€^ helsty min Froken, skaff mig blot en Brad. 

IssEN : KjcBrlighedens Komediey L 



Da Troen traedes ifjor i Syrien, 
Gik De da did som Korsets svorne Mand % 
Nej, paa Papiret var De varm som Taler, — 
Og sendte ' Kirketidenden ' en Daler. 

(Falk gaar oppover i Hcuoen), 
Falky er De vred % 


Nej visst ; j^ gaar og sturer,- 
Se, det er alt. 


De er som to Naturer — 
To uforligte— ^ 


Ja det ved jeg vel. 


Men Gnmden ! 


Grunden ? Jo, fordi jeg hader 
At gaa omkring med frsekt udringet Sjael, 


Lig Godtfolks Kjserlighed i aUe Gader, — 
At gaa omkring med blottet Hjertevarme, 
Som unge Kviiider gaar med nbgne Arme !* 
De var de eneste, — De, Svanhild, De, — 
Saa tsenkte jeg, — naa den Ting er forbi — 

{Hun gaar over og seer vd), 


Till en anden Rost, som taler, 
Hyss ! H<5rer De % Hver Kveld, naar Solen daler. 
Da kommer flyvende en liden Fugl, — 
Se der, — der kom den frem af Lovets Skjul, — 
Ved De, hvad fuldt og fast jeg ti^or ? Hver den, 
Som her paa Jord blev nsegtet Sangens Gave, 
Hun fik af Gud en liden Fugl till Yen, 
For en kun skabt og for den enes Have. 


{to/ger en Sten oppfra Jorden), 
Da gjselder det, at Fugl og Ejer modes, 
Skal ej dens Sang i fremmed Have odes. 


Ja, det er aandt ! men jeg bar fundet min. 

Jeg fik, ej Ordets Magt, ej Sangerstemme ; 

Men kviddrer Fuglen i sit gronne Gjemme, 

Det er som Digte daled i mit Sind — 

(Fal^ halter Stenen; Svanhild udstoder et Skrig,) 

Gud, der slog De den I Hvad bar De gjort! 

det var syndigt, syndigt ! 

falk (^ lidenskabeligt Oppror). 

Nej — kun Oje 
For Oje, Svanhild— ikkun Tand for Tand ! 
Nu faar De ingen Hilseu fra det hoje, 
Og ingen Grave mer fra Sangens Land. 
Se, det er Hsevnen over Deres Vserk 1 



Mit Y«rk ! 


Ja DereB ! Indtill denne Time 
Slog i mit Biyst en Sangfagl kjaekk og stserk. 
Se— na kan EHokken over begge kime, 
De bar den draebt ! 


Har jeg ! 


Ja, da De slog 
Min onge, glade Sejerstro till Jorden 
Da De/orloved Dem ! 

Ibsen : Kjcerlighedens Koniedie, i. 

Han fordnm var paa Mod so rig; 

Han stred med Yerden om en elsket Kvinde ; 

Som Yedtffigts Kirkestormer Manden gjaldt, 

Hans Kjierligbed slog ud i glade Sange ! 

Se paa bam nn ! I Easteklseder lange, 

Et Tobensdrama om bvor djbt ban faldt ! 

Og Fraentimret med de slnkne Skjort, 

Med skjseve Sko, som klasker under Hselene, 

Hun er den Yingemo, som skulde fort 

Ham ind tiU SamfundsHv med Skbnbedssjselene. 

Hvan er igjen af Flammen ? Neppe Bogen ! 

Sit transit gloiia amoris, Froken ! 

Ibsen : Kjcerlighedens Komedie, i. 


Yi vil ej sogne mer till Platheds Kirke, 
Som Led af Trivialitetens Menigbed ! 


Se, Maalet for Personlighedens Virke 
Er dog at staa selvsteendig, sand og fri. 

Ibsen : Kjmrlighedem Komedie, i. 



8aa mange Hoveder, saa mange Sind I 

Nej, alle famler de paa gale Veje. 

Hver lignelse er skjaev ; men hor nu min ; 

Den kan paa hver en Yis De sno og dreje. 

Der gror en Plante i det fjeme Ost ; ' *, - O 

Dens Odelshjem er Solens FsBtters Have — . ' ^ , 

DAMERNE. \ , ' _ y' 


> / 

• ' 


Aa, det er Theen ! 


Ja . . . 
Den bar sit Hjem i Fabellandets Dale, 
Vel tusind Mile bagom Orkner golde ; — 
Fyld Koppen, land ! Saa Takk ! Nu skal jeg holde 
Om The og Kjserlighed en Thevandstale. 

{GjcBsteme rykker vuBrmere acbmmen). 
Den har sit Hjem i Eyeniyrets Land ; 
Ak der har ogsaa Kjserligheden hjemme. 
Kun Solens Sonner, ved vi, fik Forstand 
Paa Urtens Dyrkning, paa dens E^gt og Fremme. 
Med Kjserligheden er det ligesaa. 
En Draabe Solblod maa i Aaren slaa, 
Hvis Kjserlighed skal skyde Eod derinde. 
Skal gronnes, gro, og frem till Blomstring vinde. 


Men Kjserlighed og Kjaerlighed er et ; 
Af The der gives baade god og slett. 



Ja, man har The i mange Kyaliteter. 


Be gronne Foraarsspirer allerfdrst — 


Den Slags er kun for Solens Dottres Torsi. 


Man skildrer den benisende som ^ther, — 


Horn Lotos duftende, og sod som Mandelen. 


Den forekommer aldrig her i Handelen. 


Ak, mine Damer, hver i sin Natur 
Har og efc saerligt lidet ' himmelsk Rige/ 
Der knopped sig af Spirer tusind slige 
B ag Bljheds faldende Kinesermur. 
Men Fantasiens smaa Kineserdukker, 
Som sidder i Kioskens Ly og sukker, 
Som drommer vidt — saa vidt — med Slor om Lsendenie, 
Med gyldne Tnlipaners Flor i Hsendeme, — 
Till dem I Forstegrodens Knopper ranked. 
. . . • ' • . . 

Og saa det siste store Lighedspunkt ; 
Se hvor Kulturens Haand har lagt sig tungt 
Paa * Himmelriget ' i det f jeme Osten ; 
Dets Mur forfalder og dets Magt er sprsengt. 
Den sidste segte Mandarin er hsengt, 
Profane Hsender alt besorger Hosten. 
Snart ' Himlens Bige ' er en Saga blot, 
Et Eventyr, som ingen Isenger tror paa ; 


Den hele Verden er et graat i graat ; 
Yidunderlandet har vi kastet Jord paa. 
Men har vi det, hvor er da Rjserligheden ? 
Ak, da er ogsaa den jo vandret heden. 
Naa, lad forgaa, hvad Tiden ej kan hssre; 
En Theyandsskaal till salig Amors ^re ! 

Ibsen : Kjoerligliedena Koniedie, iL 



Agnes, min dejlige Sommerfugl, 

Dig vil jeg legende fange ! 
Jeg fletter et Gam med Masker sm& 

Og Maskeme er mine Sange. 


Er jeg en Sommei^fugl, liden og skser, 

S3, lad mig af Lyngtoppen drikke ; 
Og er du en Gut, som lyster en Leg, 

^§ijag mig, menyaw^ mig ikke I 


Agnes, min dejlige Sommerfugl, 

Nu har jeg Maskeme flettet ; 
Dig hjselper visst aldrig din flagrende Flugt, — 

Snart sidder du fangen i Nettet I 


Er jeg en Sommerfugl, ung og blank, 

Jeg lystig i Legen mig svinger ; 
Men fanger du mig under Nettets Spind, 

S3, rbr ikke ved mine Vinger. 


Nej, jeg skal Ibfte dig varligt p3. H3aid 

Og lukke dig ind i mit Hjerte ; 
Der kan du lege dit hele Liv 

Den gladeste Leg, du laerte ! Ibsen : Brcmd, i. 




Frofeten or kommen ! 
Profeten, Herren, den alting vidende, 
Till 08, till OS, er han kommen. 
Over Sandhavet ridende ; 
Profeten, Herren, den aldrig fejlende. 
Till 08, tdll 08 er han kommen 
Gjennem Sandhayet sejlende ! 
Kor Flojten og Trommen ; 
Profeten, Profeten er kommen ! 


Hans Ganger er Mselken, den hvide, 
Som strommer i Paradisets Floder. 
Boj eders Knse ! Ssenk eders Hoder ! 
Hans Ojne er Stjemer, blinkende, blide. 
Intet Jordbam dog taaler 
Glansens Glans af de Stjemers Straaler ! 
Gjennen Orken han kom. 
Gold og Perler sprang frem paa hans Bryst. 
Hvor han red blev det lyst. 
Bag ham blev Morke ; 
Bag ham foer Samum og Torke. 
Han, den herlige, kom ! 
Gjennem Orken han kom, 
Som en Jordsbn pyntet. 
Kaba, Kaba staar'tom : — 
Han har sely forkyndt det ! 


Ror Flojten og Trommen ; 
Profeten, Profeten er kommen ! 

Ibsen : Peer Cryrvt, iv 


• Q. 


Saa laan mig Ore — 
Fjemt i Ost, som Krans om Pande, 
Staar de malebarske Strande, 
Portugiser og Hollaender 
Landet med Kultur bespaender. 
Desforuden boer der Skarer 
Af de segte Malebarer. 
Disse Folk bar Sproget blandet ; 
De er Herrer nu i Landet. 
Men i Tiden Isengst forgangen 
Baaded der Qrangutangen, 
Han yar Skogens Hand og Herre ; 
Frit ban turde slaa og snserre. 
Som Naturens Haand bam skabte, 
Saa ban gren og saa ban gabte. 
Uforment ban turde skrige ; 
Kan vai* Hersker i sit Rige. 
Ak, men saa kom Fremmedaaget 
Og forplumred Urskogs-Sproget. 
Firebundredaarig Natten 
Euged over Abekatten ; 
Skal vi vore Tanker male, 
Maa det ske ved Hjselp af Tale. 
Jeg bar provet paa at faegte 
For vort TJrskogs-Maal, det segte, — 
Provet at belive liget, — 
Haevdet Folkets Rett tUl Skriget,— 
Skreget selv, og paavist Trangen 
Till dets Brug i Folkesangen. 

Ibsen : Peer Gynty iv. 


I Loofod Norden hen, i Norrigs Konge-iiige, 
Een Strom befindes stoor, som ej hkr mange Liige, 
Den kaldes Moske-strom, af Mosker spits hin hoje, 
Som Strommen runden om ret artig veed at ploje. 
Naar denne gjor sin fldid oc Maanens Verk forretter, 
Oc nogen kommer nser, hand Yerden snart forgsetter. 
Den Bylge reis' i vaer som andre Bierge hoje, 
Mand der igiennem kand see Soolen Yerdens Oje. 
Er Yin den Strommen mod, to helte sammen riide, 
Oc med sligt bulder stoor imod hver andre striide, 
At Land oc Huus der ved, ja Dor oc Yindu ryste, 
Oc tage saa af sted, som Jorden dkulde bryste. 
Den stserke Trolde-hval kand der ej giennem bryde, 
Men trecker vred derfra, forfserdelig maae skiyde. 

Abrebo : Hexae^neron, ed. 1661, p. 102. 


Min IVJ^eening er der om, at der af Klipper hoje 
En Sksergaard i det Dyb maa sig tilhobe foje, 
Som een Indkiorsel haer, men ellers steen benmded, 
Oc midt i samme Gaard en runder KHppe fundet. 
Naar Strommen kommer nu, forfserdelig den brnuser, 
Oc ind ad samme Poort som tnsend fosse fiiiiser, 
Oc ingen Udgang haer, den svirer oc regierer, 
Oc hbjen middel Steen ret runden om spatserer, 
Thi snnrrer den med Mact, som qvaemen, naar mand maler. 

ARitEBO : Hexaemeron, ed. 1661, j). 103. 



Som d§, ett v&rmoln hviler sin glans bland tiilden p& kullen, 
Buskame frojdas och bjorkama st& i stilla forundran. 


Sk^dande morgonens prakt och det rosenfargade molnet. 
Tills ur sitt skote det sander en flakt, d& svigta de spada 
Grenames skott, och de krusiga lofven skalfva af vallust ; 
Mindre hafVar ocks& ej gossen, dd Hedda han ^or. 

EuNBBERG : Elgskyttamey iii. 111-116. 


Jcke sS, rik ar pd blommor en ang i den varmeste sommai*, 
Bam, som pd gl'adje den vag, der vi gd, mot grafven bestandigt, 
Endast vi akta oss val, alt ej hoppet, det ha] a, bedrager ; 
Ty hvar vi stanna en stimd att njuta en lycka, i blinken 
Springer der hoppet fdrut och vi^ar en battre pd, afstSnd. 
DSxen foljer den lysten fr§ji en till en annan och ratar, 
Aldiig fombjd, tUls slutUgt han suckande hinnes af dbden. 

RuNEBERXJ : Elgskyttame, v. 345-351. 


Eodnande syntes hon der, i sin blyghet Ijud till forundran : 
Lik en strimma af sjon, som, af morgenstrd^lai* begjuten, 
Smyger sig in och rodnar emellan skuggiga lunder. 

Euneberg: ffanna^i, 134-136. 

* fcter du den rodnande sjon,' sS, sade han, * ser du, hur olik 
Hafvet, som suckande slSr mot din hembygds klippiga strander '( 
Har ar gronska och farger och lif. Otaliga holmar 
Skjuta iir vSigoma upp, och svajande vinka frSn alia 
Lummiga tran, som bjuda den trottade roddaren skugga. 
Nalkas du udden, som nu tycks tnifia det mbtande landet, 
Oppnas en vidare rymd af vatten, och trefliga byar 
Skymta p& stranderna fram, och kyrkan lyser i ^erran. 

RuNEBERG : ffanna, iii. 9-16. 




Kom, Oihonna, mig folj i lifvet, 
Jagam alskar dig, rosiga sky ! 
Hoga Qallames furste 
Ber dig dcla bans banors lugt. 

Sdg du lymdemas glada syner 
Hogt fr§ji bergen i morgonens stund, 
Sdg du vaknade strSJar 
Dricka skisLlf^aude diminors dagg f 

Mins du skogames Ijud, d& vinden 
Ror med vingen de darrande lof, 
Fogehi jublar, och nisig 
Mellau ballame backen Ayr f 

Eller vet du, bur bjertat klappar, 
N'ar vid homens och bundames skall 
Busken prasslar, ocb hjorten 
St&r for ogat med bejdadt sprang? 

Flicka, alskar du dunkla qvallen 
Bleka stjemomas bafvande Ijus ? 
Kom, frSa toppen af MaUmor 
L&t OSS sk&da, bur natten fods. 

0, jag suttit p& QaUet ofba, 
Nar i vester sin skimrande port 
Soleu slutit, ocb rodnan 
Stilla yissnat p& mobiets by. 

Druckit svalkan af qvallens ande, 
Skuggans vandring i daldema sett, 
L&tit tankame irra 
Kring den nattliga tystnans baf. 


Skont ar lifvet p& skyars hojdar, 
Latt man andaa i dofbande skog; 
Blif min brud, och jag oppnar 
For ditt hjerta en verld af frojd. 

BuNEBERO : Rung FjcUar, ii. 103-144. 


Och solen Ejonk och qyallen kom, den milda sommarq^lleni 
Ett sken af mattad purpur gots kring bygdemiL och tjallen, 
FrSn dagens mbdor glad och trbtt en skara landtman kom, 
De fylt sitt yarf^ de vande nu till sina hyddor om/ 

Defylt sitt yarfy de gjort sin skord^ en dyrbar skord den gSngen, 
En djerf, fiendtlig krigartrupp yar nedgjord eller f&ngen, 
De dragit ut till kamp mot den yid morgonsolens sken, 
Nar allt i soger andadt yar, d& yar det afton re'n. 

Helt nara faltet, der den, den l§nga, heta striden, 
Yid yagen ISg ett litet torp, halft ode dS, for tiden, 
P& stugans Uga trappa satt en flicka tyst och sdg, 
Hur skaran kom och drog fdrbi i fiddsamt l.tertSg. 

Hon sSgsom den, som soker, ser, hyem yet, p& hyad hon tankte 1 
P& kinden brann en hogre farg, an aftonrodnan skankte, 
Hon satt si. stilla, men si. yarm, si, spanande andl,, 
Att, om hon lyssnat, som hon sig, hon hort sitt hjerta sll,. 

Men truppen gick sin bana fram, och flickan sIg den tiga, 
Till hyarje led, till hyarje man hon blickade en friga, 
En friga, bafvande och skygg, en friga ntan rost, 
Mer tyst an sncken sjelf, som smog ur hennes fulla brost. 

Nar hela skaran g&tt f orbi, de forsta som de sista, 
Dl, syek den arma flickans lugn, dl, sigs dess styrka brista, 
Hon grat ej hogt, men pannan sjonk mot hennes oppna hand 
Och stora tirar skoljde Ijufb den friska kindens brand. 

A A 


* Hvad ar at gr&ta ? Fatta mod, an st3,r oss hoppet S,ter, 

dotter, hor din moders rost, en fSfang t§r du grater ; 
Den, som ditt oga sokte nyss, och nu ej 3,terfann, 
Han lefver an, ban tankt p& dig, och derfdr lefver han. 

' Han tankt p& dig, han fdljt mitt r&d att ej g& blindt mot faran, 
Det var mitt tysta afiskedsord, dl. hen drog han med skaran. 
Af tv&ng han fdljde truppan d,t, hans hSg var ej at slSss, 
Jag vet, han ville icke do fr&n lifvets frdjd och oss.' 

Och flickan sSg med bafven npp, nr sorgsna drommer vacknad, 
Det var som om en aning stort det stilla hjertats saknad, 
Hon drdjde ej, hon sdg en g&ng ditS.t, der striden brann ; 
Och smog pS, vag och flydde tyst och skymdes och fdrsvann. 

En stund fldt bort, en stund annu, det led mot natten redan, 

1 skyndsam molnet silfverhvitt, men skymnir^ % der nedan. 

* Hon drdjer an ; o dotter, kom, din oro fSfang ar, 

I morgon, innan solen gryr, ar re'n din brudgum bar.' 

Och dottem kom, med iysta Qat hon nalkades sin moder, 

Det blida dget skymdes nu af inga t&refloder. 

Men hennes hand;» till helsning rackt, var kail som nattens 

Och hvitare an f astets sky var hennes svala kind. 

' Red mig en graf, o moder kar, min lefnadsdag ar liden ; 

Den man, som fick mitt hjertas tro, bar flytt med skam ur 

striden ; 
Har tankt pi. mig, bar tankt pi. sig, bar fdljt ert varningsord 
Och svikit sina brdders hopp och sina f aders jord. 

' ITar skaran kom, och han ej kom, begrat jag nysa bans ode, 
Jag trodde, att ban llg som man pi, f altet bland de ddde, 
Jag sdrjde, men min sorg var Ijuf, det var ej bitter dd, 
Jag velat lef^a tusen Ir, att honom sdrja f &. 


* O moder, jag bar sokt bland lik till sista skymt af dagen. 
Men ingen af de slagna bar de kara anletsdragen^ 
IN'u vill jag icke dvaljas mer p§, denna svekets o, 
Han fans ej bland de doda der, och derf or vill jag do.' 

BuNEBERG : Fdwrik St&U Sagner. 


Men ved min Side strakte 
En Yngling sig paa Bsenken 
I rolig Efbertsenken 
Og med et Drommesmil, 
Som dunkle Minder yakte 
Om Kimstens Oldtidsstil. 

Sandalen, som omgjorded 

Hans Fod, var ziirlig knyttet, 

En Arm bans Hoved stotted. 

Den anden med sit Glas 

Laa nogen benad Bordet, 

Som stobt af Pbidias. 
• . . • • 

Og da jeg Ojet ssenked, 

Traf mig biin Ynglings Blikke, — 

Nei, Midnat ejer ikke 

Saa stserkt et Stjemespil, 

Mit Oje hang som kenket 

Til denne muntre lid ! 

B5DTCHEB : Modet med Bacchus, 


Han ssenkede Pokalen, 
Der kom en Bdcascade, 
En Brusen, som i Blade, 
Og saa en Duffc af Viin, 
Der fyldte Klippesalen 
Med Boser og Jasmin. 

AA 2 


Jeg draky mens Ojet stirred 
Bag Gnister og bag Dampe, — 
Det var en magisk Lampe, 
£t mystdsk Perledor, 
Hvori jeg saae forvinet, 
Men skjonnere end for. 

Mig var det, som Colonner 
Fra Gnlyet steg med Bnlder 
Og skjod en Marmorskulder 
Ind under Kupplens Last, 
Og Epheu bandt Festonner 
Om Mnrens Alabast. 

En sseLsom Taage yar der ! 
Med Eet de mimtre Fade 
Forsvandt fra deres Stade, 
Og alvorsfnldt der laa 
Sjv gule Leoparder 
Med Labben krydset, skraa. 

BoDTCHEB : Modet med Bacchu9. 


Wer leitet nu die lieben schar 1 
Wer wiset diz gesinde ? 
Ich wnne, ich si wol vinde, 
Din die baniere fiieren sol : 
Ir meisterinne kan ez wol, 
Diu von der Vogelweide. 
Hei wie diu Uber heide 
Mit h6her stimme schellet ! 
Waz wunders si gestellet, 
Wie spsehe s'oi^anieret ! 
Wie si ir sane wandelieret ! 


' Ich meine ab in dem d6ne 
D& her von Zithdrdne, 
D& din gotinne Miirne 
Gebiutet M und inne. 
GoTTFBiED YON Strassbubg : Trtgtoffif 4794-4808. 


Zahi wie'ch daxme sunge yon den vogellinen. 

Yon der heide und von den bluomen, als ich wilent sane I 
Swelch sdicene wip mir danne gsebe ir habedanc, 

Der lieze ich liljen unde rdsen uz ir wangel schinen. 
Waltheb von dbr Vogelweidb : JSd. Bartach. czliz. 4-7. 


Der rife tet den kleinen vogelen w6, 

Daz sie niht ensungen. 
Nu h6rte ich s' aber wunnecliche als 6 : 

Nu ist diu heide entsprungen. 
D& 8ach ich bluomen strtten wider den kl6 

Weder ir lenger waere. 
Miner frouwen ifeite ich disiu miere. 

Tins hat der winter kalt und ander n6t 

Vel get&n ze leide. 
Ich w&nde, daz ich iemer bluomen r6t 

Ssehe an griiener heide. 
Joch sch&te ez guoten liuten, wsere ich t6t^ 

Die ndch freuden rungen 
Und je geme tanzten unde sprungen. 

Yersiimde ich disen wiinnichlichen tac, 

Sd waer' ich verwton 
Und wsere an freude ein angestltcher slac : 

Dennoch muese ich 14zen 


Al mine freude, der ich wilent pflac 

€k>t gesegen' inch alle : 
Wiinschet noch, daz mir ein heil gevalle. 

Walther : Ed. B<Mrt8ch, IxxiiL 


Got, dine helfe uns sende ! 
Mit diner zesewen hende 
Bewar uns an dem ende, 

S6 uns der geist verldt, 
Vor helleheizen wallen, 
Daz wir dar in iht vallen ! 
Ez ist wol kunt uns alien, 

Wie jsemerliche ez st&t, 
Daz h^re lant vil reine,^ 
Chur helfelds und eine. 
JeriisalSm, nii weine, 

Wie din vergezzen ist ! 
Walther : Ed. Ba/rt8ch. hzviii. 61-72. 


Owd war sint verswunden alliu miniu jar ! 
Ist mir min leben getroumet oder ist ez w&r ? 
Daz ich ie w&nde daz iht wsere, was daz iht 1 
Dar n&ch hkn. ich geslSfen unde enweiz es niht. 

Nu bin ich erwachet und ist mir unbekant 
Daz mir hie vor was kiindic als min ander hant. 
liut unde lant, d4 ich von kinde bin erzogen, 
Die sint mir fremde worden, reht' als ez si gelogen. 

Mich griiezet maneger tr4ge, der mich bekande 6 wol. 
Diu werlt ist allenthalben ungendden vol ; 
Als ich gedenke an manegen wunniclichen tac, 
Die sint mir enpfallen gar als in daz mer ein slac. 


Owd wie jfemerliche junge Hut tuont ! 
Den unvil riuwecliche ir gemiiete S stuont, 
Die konneii nii wan sorgen : owS wie tuont sie s6 1 
Swar ich zer werlte k^re, da iat nieman frd. 

Tanzen, lachen, singen zerg&t mit sorgen gar. 
Nie kristenman gesach so jiemerliche schar. 
N4 merket, wie den frouwen ir geb^nde st&t ; 
Die stolzen ritter tragent dorperliche w4t. 

• • . •  • 

Dar zuo die vesten schilte und diu gewthten swert ! 
Wolte'got, wser* ich den sigeniinfte wert ! 
S6 wolte ich n6tic man verdienen richen solt, 
Joch meine ich niht die huoben, noch der hdrren golt. 

Ich wolte selbe kr6ne dweclichen tragen ; 
Die mohte ein soldensere mit sine sper bejagen. 
Moht' ich die lieben reise gevaren iiber sS, 
S6 wolte ich denne singen ' wol ' und niemer mdre ' ouwd/ 

Niemer m^re * ouw6 ! ' 

Walther : Ed. Bartsch, clzzzviiL 


Under der linden 

An der heide, 

Dk unser zweier bette was, 

D& muget ir vlnden 

Schdne beide 

Gebrochen bluomen unde gras. 

Yor dem walde in einem tal, 

Tandaradei ! 

Schdne sane diu nahtegal. 

Ich kam gegangen 
Zuo der ouwe : 


Dd was min fiiedel komen L 

J)i wart or enpfiangexi,. 

H^re frouwe 1 

Daz ioh bin sselic iemer m^. 

Kuste er mich ? wol t^sentstnut : 

Tandaradei ! 

Sehet, wie r6t mir ist der munt. 

1)6 het er gemachet 

Al66 riche 

Yon bluomen eine bettestat ; 

DeB wirt noch gelachet 

Innecliche, ^ 

Komt iemen an daz selbe pfat. 

Bi den r6sen er wol mac 

Tandaradei ! 

Merken w& mir'z houbet lac. 

Daz er bi mir Isege, 
Wesse ez jemen 

(Nu enwelle got !) 86 schamte ich mich. 
. Wes er mit mir pflsege, 
Niemer niemen 
Bevinde daz wan er und ich 
Unde ein kleinez vogellin : 
Tandaradei 1 
Daz mac wol getriuwe sin. 

Walther : JSd. Bartsch. ix. 


H4t der winter kurzen tac, 
S6 h4t er die langen naht, 
Daz sich liep bi liebe mac 
Wol erholn, daz S dk yaht. 
Waz h&n ich gesprochen 1 6w^, j& hsete ich baz geswigen, 

Sol ich iemer sd geligen ! 

Walthbr : JSd. BarUch. Iviii. 13-18. 



Grot h&te ir wengel h6hen fliz : 

Er stroich sd tiure varwe dar, 
S6 reine r6t, s6 reine wiz, 

Hie rcBseloht, dort liljenvar. 
Ob ich'z Yor siinden tar gesageon, 

Sd ssehe ich s'iemer gemer an 
Dan bimel oder himelwagen. 

Ow^ waz lobe ich tumber man 1 
Maeh' ich mir sie ze hSr 

Yil lihte wirt mins mundes lop mins herzen b&t. 
Walthbr : JSd. Baaisch. xvii. 21-30. 


Frd Sselde teilet umbe mich 

Und k^ret mir den rucke zuo. 
Da enkan si niht erbarmen sich : 
I'n weiz waz ich dar umbe tuo. 
Si stSt nngeme gegen mir : 
Louf ich bin umbe, ich bin doch iemer hinder ir, 
Si' n ruochet mich niht ane sehen, 
Ich wolte, daz ir ougen an ir nacke stiienden — so miieste ez &ne 
ir danc geschehen. 

Walther : Ed. BwtUdk. 


Yon der Elbe unz an den Bin 
Und her wider unz an der linger lant 

Mugen wol die beaten sin, 
Die ich in der werlte h4n erkant. 


Elan ich rehte schouwen 
Guot gel^ und lip, 
Sam mir got, 86 swuere ich wol daz hie din wip 
Bezzer sint dann' ander frouwen. 

Walther : Ed. Ba/rtacfi, xxxix. 25-32. 


Do den sumer komen was, 
Und die bluomen durch daz gi-as 
Wiinnecliche ensprungen, 
Ald4 die vogele songen, 
Dar kom ich gegangen 
An einen anger langen ; 
DS, ein Idter brunne entspranc ; 
Yor dem walde was sin ganc, 
DH diu nahtegale sane. 

Walther : Ed, Bartach, iv. 1-9. 


Had hy Holland dan gedi*agen 

Onder't hart, 
Tot sijn af-geleefde dagen 

Met veel smart, 
Om*t meyneedigh swaert te laven 

Met sijn bloet 
En te mesten kray en raven 

Vondel: Gmze-Vesper. 


Een Vrouw die niet als singht en tuyt, 
Die garen danst, en die de Luyt 
Schier nimmer uyt haer handen leydt, 
Fy, fy, dat is Hchtveerdighieydt. 


Maer is het niet een hemel schier, 
Te sien hoe dat een geestigh dier, 
Met sangh of spel haer man verquickt, 
AJs't noodigh huyswerck is beschickt ? 

Misbruyck verkeert het soetste soet 
In walchelijck en bitter roet, 
Ja heylsaem nutte medicijn, 
T'ontijdt gebruyckt, keert in fenijn. 

Dan die sijn oogh op't eeuwigh slaet, 
De tijdelijcke fraeyheydt laet : 
De met al't wereltsche gespoock 
Yerdwijnen sal als windt en roock. 

Anna Roehebs : Zmne-Foppen, 1669. 


Somtijds kiest gij't zeskant huisken 
Yoor uw a%escheiden kluisken ; 

En zijt, in dees eenzaamhe^n, 

Nimmer min dan dus alleen. 
In dit kluisken werd geboren 
(t*Was zoo van uw lot beschoren) 

's Grooten Hendriks groote faam, 

En de grootheid van zijn naam 
Kwam uit deze kleenheid rexmen, 
Vlug geworden door uw pennen. 
VoNDBL : ^og een Brief aan den Drost van Muiden, 29-38. 



Mijn schaepjes, die uw honger bluste 

Met weeldrig thijm, boet nu uw luste 

Met rooseblaedtjes van mijn krans, 


Die na een liever trant 
Doet luystren het verstandt, 
Met wifise maet en enikjes, 
Die vriendUjkheytjes duyt in vaster toonestrikjeB. 

Wiens rede stem vertaelt 
En waerdiger onthaelt 
De geestjes van 't gehoor, 
En hupplen doet de sdel van 't hartje tot aen 't oor. 

Ala 2y met grof gedreun, 
En dan met teer gekreun 
Van minnelijke treeken 
Doet onderscheidelijk verscheyde tongen spreeken. 

Geen veelheyt ons verveelt, 
Hoe veel haer keel^e kweelt, 
Maer eenen verschen lust 
Bekoort het graege oor als 't maer een snikje rust. 

'T is zeldzamer genenght, 
Die staegh op nieuw verhenght, 
Geen stemmigheyt zoo lustigh, 
Als deez' die zomers is en 's winters even nistigh. 

Tesselsghade : Verscheidene Gedichten, 1653 


Mingody streng van heersehappy, 

Ziet ghy wel die Maeght aen't Y, 
Op het e^lste van haer daegen, 
Die uw' moeder heeft ontdraegen 

Bios van kaeken, en den slagh 

Van die liefielijke lach ! 


Wat, zich, trekt zy zorgen aen 1 
Zinnen werken, handen gaen. 


Doonde zijn haer oogen zedigh, 
Keel en lippen zijn onleedigh ; 

Magh een jeughdt zoo groen en fris 

Tegen zoo veel moeyenis 1 

Yat zy diamant ; een kras 

Spreeken doet het stomme glas ; 
Ziet dien duim, met gouden draeden, 
Maelen kostele gewaeden ; 

Vingers voeren pen, penseel, 

Knockels kittelen de veel. 

Ziet dan gaet dat mondjen we^r, 

Met de nooten, op en neSr ; 
't Oogh zich aen de letters lijmen, 
De gedachten aen het rijmen ; 

Tong zich krommen in de klank 

Yan den Boomer en den Frank. 

Hooft: Bruyloftzam/g, 


Onttooyt of tooyt ghy u, Maria Magdalene, 
Als ghy uw hayr ontvlecht, verwerpt de luystersteenen^ 
Yerbreeckt het perlensnoer, versmaedt het scheinbaer goed. 
En keurt voor vuyl en vals, al wat dat voordeel doet. 
Om dees uw malsche jeucht het eeuwigh te beletten, 
En op een stronckelsteen uw toeverlaet te setten % 

Godvruchte vrouw ! Ghy haeekt vast nae een stalen muur, 
Die niet beswijcken kan door tijt ofb droevig uur. 

Tesselschade : Maria MagdcUena. 


Als van twee ghepaerde schelpen 
De eene breeckt, of wel verliest ; 

Niemant zal u konnen helpen, 

Hoe men soeckt, hoe nau men kiest, 


Aen een, die met effen randan 

Juyst op d'ander passen sou ; 
D'outete sijn de beste panden 

Niets en gaet voor d'eerste trouw. 




Dit is Tesselschades Graf. 

liet niemand zich vermeeten 
Haer onwaerdeerlijkheid in woorden nit te meeten : 
Al wat men van de Zon kan zeggen gaet Kaer af. 

Hoe dat ze om't leven kwam 

Verhael ik even noode. 
Wat dunkt u, Moeders! 't was haerDochter die haer doodde. 
En die zft leven gaf, was die haer't leven nam. 

Maer't kind bad weinig schuld ; 

De Moeder zag het sterven, 
En stierf om dat zy't haer geliet te kunnen derven. 
Zoo sneefde Tesselsch&e door al te veel gedold. 

HuYOHENS: Korenbloemen. 


Bejegent Engelen, hoe schoonze uw oogh behaeghdeu, 
Het zijn wanschapenheSn by 't morgenHcht der ma^hden. 


Het schijnt, ghy blaeckt van minne om 't vrouwelijcke dier."^ 


Ick heb mijn slaghve^r in dat aengename vier 
Gezengt. Het vielme zwaer van onder op te stijgen, 
Te roeien, om den top van Engleburgh te krijgen. 


Ick scheide, doch met pijn, en zag wel driewerf om. 
Nu blinckt geen Serafijn, in 't bemelsch heilighdom, 
Als deze, in 't hangend hair, een goude nis van stralen, 
Die schoon gewatert van den hoofde nederdalen, 
En vloeien om den rugh. Zoo komtze, als nit een licht, 
Te voorschijn, en yerheught den dagh met haer gezicht. 
Laet perle en perlemoer u zniverheit beloven ; 
Haer blanckheit gaet de perle en perlemoer te boven. 


Wat baet al 's menschen roem, indien zijn schoonheit smelt, 
En eindelyck verwelckt, gelijck een bloem op 't velt 1 

Vondel: Lucifer ^ i. 162-177. 

! WW. 


Ghy snelle Geesten, boudt nu stant met onzen wagen : 

Al boogh genoegb in top Godts Morgenstar gedragen ; 

Al boogh genoegb gevoert : 't is tijdt, dat Lucifer 

Nu duicke voor de komst van deze dubble star, 

Die van beneden rijst, en zoekt den wegh naer boven, 

Om met een aertscben glans den Hemel te verdooven. 

Borduurt geen kroonen meer in Lucifers gewaet ; 

Yergult zijn voorhooft niet met eenen dageraet 

Van moTgenstarre en strael, waer voor dAertsenglen nijgen ! 

Een andre klaerbeit komt in 't licbt der Godtbeit st\jgen, 

En schijnt ons glansen doot ; gelijck de zon by daegh 

De stan'en dooft, voor 't oogb der schepselen, om laegb. 

't Is nacbt met Engelen, en aUe Hemelzonneo. 

VoNDBL : Lucifer, ii. 1-13. 

B B 




Hoe zien de hoffelijcke gevols 

Zoo root f hoe straelt het heiligh licht 

Zoo root op ona gezicht, 
Door wolcken en bedroefde nevels ? 

Wat damp, wat mist betreckt 

Dat ziiiver, noit bevleckt, 

En loutere safiGier 9 

Die vlam, dien glans, dat vier 
Van *t heldere Alvermogen ? 

Hoe schijnt ons nu de diepe gloet 

Der Godtheit toe, zoo zwart als bloet, 

Die flus zoo klaer alle oogen 

Verheughde 1 

VoNDEL : Lucifer y ii. 385-397. 



Toen wy, op Gabriels bazuinen, 

Ontvonckten, en een niouwe wijs 

Aenhieven, Grodt ten prijs ; 
De rozegaerden, en de tuinen 

Yan 't hemelsch paradijs, 

Door zulck een dau en spijs 
Van lof en zang verblijt, 

Ontloken ; scheen de Nijt 
Van onder in te sluipen. 

Een groot getal der Geesten, stom 

En bleeck en dootsch, ging, drom by drom, 
Misnoegend henedruipen : 

De winckbraeu hing verslenst op 't oogh, 
Het gladde voorhoofb zette een rimpel ; 

De Hemelduiven, hier om hoogh. 



APPENDIX. ^ V371 - . 

Onnozel eerst, oprecht, en simpel, ^ /^ ^ /^^ 

Aen 't zuchten sloegen, zoo het scheen ; ^vf > \/-^ 
Als of de Hemel viel te kleen , ' fj^ ^\^ 

Voor haer, toen Adam wert yerkoren, ' «^ 1 »^ r 

En zulck een kroon den mensch beschoren. ^ ' ^^ /, 

Dees smet ontstelt het oogh van 't Licht. ^ I 

Z' ontsteeckt die ylam in Godts gezicht. \^ 

VoNDEL : LucifeTy ii. 407-428. 


Houdt op van kermen : scheurt veltteeckens en gewaden 
Niet langer zonder reSn, maer heldert uw gezicht 
En Yoorhooft met een strael, o kinders van het licht ! 
De schelle keelen, die met zang de Godtheit dancken, 
Zien om, en belgen 't zich, om dat ghy valsche klancken 
En basterttoonen mengt in 't goddelijck muzijck. 

VoNDEL : Lucifer, iii. 222-227. 


Ontferm u, Lucifer ! Gedoog niet, dat onze Orden 
Zoo laegh vemedert worde, en zonder schult verzink', 
De mensch, gelijck een hooft der Englen, strale, en blinck', 
In 't ongenaeckbre licht, waer voor de Serafijnen, 
Al bevende van angst, als schaduwen verdwijnen. 

• •.•••• 

Wj zweeren u met kracht, in voile majesteit^ 
Te zetten op den trooo, aen Adam toegeleit. 
Wj zweeren uwen arm eendraghtigh t' onderstutten, 
Aenvaert dees heirb\)l : help, och help ons Becht beschutten ! 

VoNDEL : Lucifer, iii. 422-434. 

B B 2 



Yolght dezen Kelt, op zijn bazuin en trom, 

Beschut de kroon van 't Engelsdom ! 
Ziet, ay ziet nu de Morgenstar blineken ! 

VoNDEL : Lucifer, iii. 507-509, 


Ick zagh Grodts blyschap zelf zich met een wolck van rou 
Beschaduwen, in 't endt de wraeck een vlam ontsteecken 
In d' oogen yan het licht, eer, om dien slagh te breecken, 
Het last gaf tot den toght. Ick hoorde een wijl het pleit, 
Hoe d' opperste Genade, en Godts gerechtigheit 
Elckandre in wederwight, met pit van reden, hielen. 
Ick zagh de Cherubijns, hoeze op hnn aenzicht vielen, 
Eix riepen vast : Gen&, gen4, o Heer ! geen Becht. 
Men had dit zwaer geschil gezoent, en schier geslecht, 
Zoo scheen de Godtheit tot genade en zoen genegen ; 
Maer aJs de wyroockstanck in top komt opgesteegen, 
De smoock, die Lucifer om laegh wort toegezwaeit, 
Met wyroockvat, bazuin, en lofgezangen, draeit 
De Hemel zijn gezicht van zulcke afgoderyen, 
Gevloeckt van GU)dt, en Geest, en alle Hierarchyen. 

VoNDEL : Lucifer, iv. 34-48. 


Het groeide snel, en wies, gelijck een halve maen. 
Het wet zijn punten, zet twee horens op ons aen ; 
Gelijck 't gestarrent van den Stier de Hemeldieren 
En andre monsters, die rondom hem henezwieren, 
Met goude hoomen dreight. 

VoNDEL : Lbicifer, v. 53-57. 



Gelijck een binnenzee, of noortsche waterval, 
Die van de rotsen bruischt, en ruischt, met een geschal, 
Dat dier en ondier schrickt, in diepgezoncke dalen, 
Daer steenen, van de steilte, en dicke waterstralen. 

Vondbl: Luei/er, v. 161-164. 



^ Gezegent zij de Helt, 

Die 't goddelooB gewelt, 
f En zijn maght, en zijn kracht, en zijn standert 

Ter neder heeft gevelt. 

Die Godt stack naer Zijn kroon, 

Is, lut den hoogen troon, 
Met zijn maght in den nacht neSrgezoncken. 

Hoe blinekt Godts naem zoo schoon ! 

Al brant het oproer fel, 

De dappre Michael 
Weet den brant met zijn bant uit te bliisschen, 

Te straffen dien rebel. 

Hy banthaeft Gk)dts banier, 

Bekranst hem met laurier. 
Dit palais groeit in pais, en in vrede ; 

Geen tweedragbt boort men bier. 

Nu zingt de Godtbeit lof, 

In *t onverwinbaer bof. 
Prijs en eer zij den Heer aller Heeren I 

Hy geefb ons zingens stofl 

VoNDEL : LucifeTf v. 275-294. 




Helaes, helaes, helaes, hoe is de kans gekeert ! 
Wat viert men hierf *t is nu vergeefs getriomfeert ^ 
Yergeefs met wapenroof en standerden te brallen. 


Wat hoor ick, Gabriel ? 


Och, Adam is gevallen ; 
De vader en de stam van 't menschelijck geslacht 
Te jammerlijek, te droef abreS ten val gebraght. 

VoNDEL : Ludfvr^ v. 313-318. 


Ozias, aen wiens vuist de Godtheit zelf vereerde 
Den zwaren hamer van gekloncken diamant, 
En ketens van robijn, en krammen, spits van tant, 
Ga bene, vang en span bet beir der belscbe dieren, 
Den Leeu, en fellen Draeck, die tegens ons banieren 
Das woeden : vaegb de lucbt van dees vervloeckte jagbt, 
En boeize aen neck en klaeu, en ketenze met kracbt. 
Dees sleutel van den put des afgronts en zijn bolen 
Wort, Azarias, u en uwe zorg bevolen. 
Ga bene, sluit in 't bol al wat ons magbt bestrijt. 
Maceda, neem dees torts, die vlam is u gewijt : 
Ontsteeckt den zwavelpoel in 't middelpunt der aerde, 
En pijnigb Lucifer, die zoo veel gruwlen baerde. 


In 't eeuwighbrandend vier, gemengt met killen vorst ; 
Daer Droefheit, Gruwzaemheit, Yersteentheit, Honger, Dorst, 
De Wanhoop, zonder troost, de prickel van 't Greweten, 
En Onverzoenbaerheit, een straf van 't boos vermeten. 

VoNDBL : Lucifer, v. 448-463. 







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